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Parents challenged to help children learn while at home

By Augustine Oduor | May 23rd 2020
Boys try to repair a bicycle at Joyland, Kakamega. Many children who are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic cannot access alternative learning programmes set by government to facilitate home learning. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Pressure is now mounting on parents to participate in their children's home learning programmes facilitated by the Ministry of Education.

It emerged that some parents are still struggling to ensure their children follow the Out of Classroom programmes that are being facilitated through broadcast and digital platforms - radio, TV and the Kenya Education Cloud online platform.

Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Education Mumina Bonaya said the government was working on modalities to scale up involvement of parents in the learning of their children who are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said parents have a shared responsibility with schools to ensure meaningful teaching and learning takes place.

“Parents are the first and continuing educators of their children. They are not expected to teach, but to motivate children,” Ms Bonaya said during a consultative meeting at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

The team is expected to come up with strategies that will enable parents and guardians, whose roles are emphasised in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), to create a conducive environment not only for learning at home, but also for the overall well-being of the learners.

One of the options on the table is creating awareness about the Guidelines on Parental Empowerment and Engagement developed by KICD in partnership with other partners to address gaps in education that emanate from parents who are not well versed with their roles.

The guidelines provide strategies on how parents can be encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s learning as they appreciate the various developments in the education sector.

Informed parents have a positive impact on development of their children in areas such as acquisition of right morals, religious values, improved health and nutrition, increased enrolment, retention and transition in schools, academic achievements and appropriate career choice.

The out-of-class lessons give the learners an opportunity to interact with their immediate environment and practice the values instilled in them at school.

“We need not only focus on the academic dimension, but ensure that the child is receiving guidance and a conducive environment is created for them to develop holistically without neglecting the physical, moral, social and psychological bit,”  Bonaya said.

KICD Council Chairperson Sara Ruto underscored the role parents play in the education of their children, saying they cannot be left behind in their children's academic journey.

“Parents are the first educators, trainers and source of authority that a child interacts with. Helping parents to identify a child’s talent and potential creates an enabling environment for the school to build on,” said Dr Ruto.

She presently chairs the 10-member team recently constituted by Education CS George Magoha to advise the government on the reopening of schools.

Joel Mabonga, the acting KICD CEO, said parents are important players in the success of homeschooling because they are the ones at home with the learners during this time when they are being exposed to alternative ways to ensure learning continues beyond the classroom.

“Parents need to appreciate they have a noble role that is well captured in the CBC. Nobody is sure when Covid-19 will end,” Dr Mabonga said.

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