Expert blog, day 3

First working days in Kenya

“We are on a three-week visit to prepare a new exciting and challenging training for teachers.”

I just came back from a walk through the streets of Thika on this sunny day that President Uhuru Kenyatta is being inaugurated. Thika is only one hour north of Nairobi and is the hometown of the president, but even after two hours of walking, I didn’t meet another foreigner like me.

Together with Heather Dean we are on a three-week visit and together with local trainer Peter Gitau preparing a one-week training course for a girls’ secondary school. On the first day, Heather and I walked to the Blue Post Hotel, located next to a natural park where an oasis of green surrounds the Chania Falls. It was a very nice way to spend our Sunday morning and I was happy I didn’t immediately plunge into the experience I had today.

Walking through a neighborhood near the hotel today, I see a bird picking food from a trash pile. On my way back, I see a man doing the same.

Crossing the people in the streets makes me wonder how I can create my own living space here during my stay. I want to feel comfortable and free, but I don’t because I am something special and everybody is giving me penetrating looks or is asking me if I need a lover. It makes me wonder about freedom; that you can do what you like, express yourself, that you can communicate and connect with your environment. But also to have the means of achieving your goals, a parent who prepares your food when you come home after school, or a teacher who is fully engaged with his work to help you grow and develop.

Like in the Netherlands, every change in the curriculum of an educational system is creating problems for the teachers and the schools. They are already so busy teaching their pupils the compulsory courses, and they never have enough time to do all they would like to do. On top of that, they are underpaid, don’t have high status and often have to work in hard conditions.

Kenya is a developing country and it’s very special to be part of teaching the new generation 21st century skills like Critical thinking, Creativity, Self-regulation, Collaboration, Effective Communication and Problem-solving.

Now that Kenyatta is in the lead for the upcoming 5 years, the hope is that this so-called “digital president,” will reform schools with internet access and supply the infrastructure to connect with the world.

It will take a long time before all schools are connected and in the meantime, DEAN is offering alternative ways to use digital education with 21st-century skills.

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