African Maths Initiative Blogs

My visit to Wekhonye Primary School

Class three pupils learning English using Duck Duck Moose.

Class three pupils learning English using Duck Duck Moose.

I accompanied Mike and Patrick to the school and was introduced to the teaching staff who were very excited to see the team walk into the school with large bags. Pupils were already peeping through the classroom windows and calling out Mike and Patrick's names even before we got to the administration office to meet the deputy school teacher!
We had a session with class three pupils who used the ‘Duck Duck Reading app’ installed on the tablets to learn English word pronunciations. Once they opened the app, they would touch on a displayed word, a lady’s voice pronounced the word, then the pupils would repeat after the voice. Some could even mimic the dialect! And the pupils knew how to navigate the app by themselves from one level to another! I think this is such an incredible way of learning pronunciations.
Afterward, I had a brief in-depth conversation with the school's’ gender teacher who was introduced to me by the team. She was keen to follow-up on the girl-child initiative that Cabrine had initiated and wondered whether or not it would continue given that the pupils had asked her about Cabrine's absence when the team visited earlier on in the week.
Are we able to address early pregnancies and active sexual engagement among the pupils? She interestingly revealed that girls outdo boys in almost all of the classes but only a small percentage make it to high school in comparison to the no. of boys.
The school does its best to advice and even intervene in family cases where poverty compels some parents to send girls to “tafuta sukari” from old men.Such cases are majorly from families with tiny parcels of land called ‘points’ which are much less than an acre.
Male youths engaging in the ‘boda-boda’ business pose the greatest challenge to the young female students, including those in high school, resulting in a number of class-7/8 pregnancies, hence the dropout cases or pregnancies in the period after class 8 which she says account for most of the early childhood pregnancies in the community surrounding Wekhonye. There are also frequent absenteeism and some eventual drop-outs among the male students to join the ‘boda-boda’ (motorists’ transportation) business.
I think the best part of the conversation was the fact that the community had model students who had in fact schooled in Wekhonye, proceeded on to Hilario Secondary (or other secondary schools) and are now in Kenyatta University and …(I can’t recall the other one )….These students are relatives to some of the pupils from Wekhonye Primary School. I suggested if it were possible to get hold of these students who would then be in a much better position to advise, mentor and inspire the pupils since they would relate well with the local setup, a thought the teacher strongly agreed with but how and when to get them? Not so sure. Maybe through the pupils.

I then had girl-talk with the class 8 female students while Patrick and Mike had a separate session with the boys. It went well.

All in all, I really enjoyed my first visit to the school!

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