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School Uses Chiefs to Take Study Materials to Students

Following the closure of all learning institutions in March due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, children have been stuck at home with no learning going on. A secondary school in Nyeri has now joined hands with chiefs to supply assignments and coursework to students to help them keep learning during the ongoing coronavirus-enforced crisis.

It is a well-coordinated move by Othaya Girls Secondary administration together with the sub-county commissioner, assistant chiefs, and chiefs in four sub-locations to ensure seamless conduction of the operation.

Othaya Girls Secondary Principal Jane Njuguna told the media that she began the project back in April just after schools were closed and students sent home after Kenya reported the first COVID-19 positive case.

Besides the move, the school also has been offering online learning for its students. However, they also continued providing learning materials and assignments to students who come from poor households. They had noted that these students from poor households were being left behind because of issues like lack of electricity, smartphones, personal computers, or internet bundles in order to be able to access the virtual classes.

“Education is an equalizer and once we found out that some students were missing out on classes, we began bringing them onboard by liaising with area chiefs to ensure students that we could reach can benefit,” said Ms. Njuguna.

The community-based learning is not the only offered to students from Othaya Girls but also to any students who are within the Othaya township and are not able to access the virtual classes provided by their schools.

“The e-learning we are providing is going on and with help from the chiefs, we have reached out to around 53 students from various schools within this area,” added the principal.

The chiefs collect learning materials from teachers and they supply them to students every Thursday of the week in the respective homes of the students.

Students are given three days to complete assignments and then the chiefs again help in by collecting and handing them over for marking to teachers.

Chiefs have been given access to the school library using a certain number. This helps them to pick books for students who do not have learning materials. The students are required to say how they are intending to keep books before they are issued out from the library.

“We are trying to ensure they are busy and that they stay away from queer tendencies that might harm them such as teenage pregnancies which leads to an awful situation that destroys even an entire generation,” said Ms Njuguna.

The programme is being offered in Kiahuguru, Thuti, Othaya town and in Gitundu.

Kiahuguru Senior Assistant chief Fredrick Macharia illustrated that the programme is beneficial to both parents and students who are really appreciating it as it keeps their children engaged during this period children are staying at home.

“It is personal service and voluntary. It is a good thing for the community,” said. Mr. Fredrick Macharia.

Sanitization

According to Mr. Macharia, before the collection and delivery of the learning materials, or assignments, sanitization is carried out in a bid to contain COVID-19.

“We have banned any kind of group discussions among students, be it with neighbors or even friends,” added Mr. Macharia.

The books being used by the students are from Othaya Girls, which are signed for by the Chiefs. “The students are enjoying this programme because there is no pass mark for the work they are doing. They are keeping busy and this makes them avoid crime and other things that will lead them astray,” Chief Macharia said.

“Based on gender, adults allocated are responsible to these students to counsel and mentor them,” said Ms Njuguna.

According to Ms. Njuguna, they aim to offer the programme to the whole sub-county of Othaya.

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