Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Kenya: Child Friendly School manual outlines a brighter future for Kenyan children through education

Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

NAIROBI, Kenya, 7 February 2011 - The foundation for key improvements in the quality of teaching and learning was laid in Kenya with the launch of the manual on implementation of the Child Friendly School concept.

The manual, which was developed by education experts with the support of UNICEF, provides guidelines to teachers and helps them understand how to use this model effectively. The launch was presided over by Kenya's Minister of Education, Hon. Amb. Prof. Sam Ongeri, MP, and attended by UNICEF Kenya Representative Olivia Yambi. Children from two primary schools in Nairobi, where the Child Friendly School concept has been piloted, participated in the launch. "A child friendly school is what makes education cool … for school is never the same," the children from Ayany Primary School recited in a poem.

New framework

Under the Child Friendly School framework, schools must not only help children realize their right to a basic education, but are also expected to equip them with the skills to face the challenges of a new century; enhance their health and well-being; guarantee them safe and protective spaces for learning, free from violence and abuse; raise the teacher morale and motivation; and mobilize community support for education. A child-friendly school assures every child an environment that is physically safe, emotionally secure and psychologically enabling.

It aims to develop a learning environment in which children are motivated and able to learn.

The minister of Education called on communities to support schools in providing a quality education for children:"We must address all facets of a child's life. We must take care of psycho-motor development, physical development, the environment the socialization of the child," he emphasized.

Education for all

According to the Minister, primary school enrolment had increased from 5.9 million children in 2003, when free primary education was introduced, to 8.6 million this year. Transition to secondary school has also increased from 43 per cent to 72.5 per cent.

The UNICEF Representative stressed that by embracing the Child Friendly School concept, schools would be managed in a way that ensured a child's holistic development. It would also address the questions of equity, access and quality of education.

"The Child Friendly School concept is aimed at reducing inequities in education. It defines the role of the school to seek out all children and diversify teaching processes in a way that allows children, irrespective of background, to learn at their full potential," she said.

With the launch of the manual, the concept, which has been piloted in some schools in Nairobi, Coast and North Eastern provinces, will now be rolled out countrywide.