Top schools feted amid fresh calls for quality learning

Kuja Special Secondary for the deaf  represenatative Daniel Obudho receives an award from Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu (R) during the 3rd edition of the Great Places to School Awards gala dinner. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Quality education with impactful outcomes enables citizens to understand the world and offer solutions to society’s problems, a high level education forum heard.

The meeting dubbed Great Places To School (GTPS) awards gala was told that the final effects of acquired knowledge, skills and understanding translates into learners’ ability to become change agents.

The gala, attended by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, private schools, curriculum experts and teachers noted that infrastructure development and a holistic approach in evaluating students’ success contribute to impactful education.

GPTS is a partnership of Standard Group PLC and Global Peace Foundation Kenya, and a research-based rating exercise to identify, rate and recognise schools whose innovative learning environment and overall culture contribute to the development of holistic child.

The forum, themed ‘Transforming Education for The Future’ was characterised by panel discussions, speeches and awards to schools that have excelled in various categories that moulded all-round learners.

There were winners 11 categories that saw public and private schools awarded by Machogu who was chief guest.

The categories were moral & innovative school leadership, values, skills & character, school safety, health & sanitation, career guidance & workforce readiness, transformative, technology & digital skills, academic excellence, extra-curricular activities, global competence, climate action, equity & inclusion and ccholarship & corporate social responsibility.

Under values, skills & character category for high school,  Nairobi International School won while Kiota School topped primary level.

School safety

Crawford International School won the school safety, health & sanitation for high schools, while sharp education centre scooped the award for primary. For career guidance & workforce readiness in high schools, Makini School emerged best while Brookshine Schools won in primary level.

MPESA Foundation Academy won the transformative technology & digital Skills (STEM) for high schools while Merishaw School topped in primary school level. For academic excellence for high schools, Maseno School emerged top while Acacia Crest Academy topped primary schools.

In the extra-curricular activities for high school, AIC Cheptonon Secondary won while Chadwick Academy won in primary level. For global competence category for high schools, Nairobi International School won as Woodland Star International School topped in primary level. Other were the Excellence School and Acacia School who won under the moral & innovative school leadership for high school and primary groups, respectively.

For climate action in high schools category, Silibwet Secondary School won while Young Muslims academy topped primary schools.

Greenland Girls For Teenage Mothers won the equity & inclusion category for high school while Little Rock IECD Center topped in primary. For Scholarship & Corporate Social Responsibility for high schools was won by  M-Pesa Foundation Academy while Acacia Crest Academy topped in primary level.

CS Machogu lauded the GPTS initiative’s organisers saying their collective efforts play an key role in nurturing and encouraging learners to gain confidence. ‘‘The theme and aspiration of GPTS is well aligned with the ongoing education reforms in the country. As you are aware, the Basic Education Curriculum Framework that we have embraced aims at nurturing every learner’s potential to ensure our graduates are engaged, empowered and are ethical citizens,’’ said Machogu.

He added: ‘‘This involves looking at the learner holistically and inculcating relevant skills and competencies besides promoting morals, values and life skills that enable the person to become a competitive and ethical citizen. This is what GPTS was founded for and hence in line with our ongoing reforms.’’

Standard Group PLC CEO Orlando Lyomu said since the initiative was rolled out in partnership with Global Peace Foundation Kenya, there have been no regrets.

‘‘Schools were predominantly focused on how many As, Bs, Cs they got and that became the culture but we saw it good to come up with other measurements of success that is not on academic but creates impact in society and also provides a platform to discuss how to improve the quality of education and that is GPTS,’’ said Lyomu. He said a lot has been done by the government in education and it’s important that everyone plays their part.

Global Peace Foundation Kenya Executive Director Daniel Juma said GPTS is hinged on seven national goals of education, noting that the awards have encouraged private and public schools to work hard and attract students from Kenya and abroad.

‘‘Through this exercise, we’re demonstrating to parents from Kenya and other countries that Kenya is the hotbed of quality education and there is completely no need to take your children to study abroad,’’ said Juma.

Precious Wangeci of Al-Khair Foundation said to assess and evaluate the progress of learning techniques, there is need to check on students achievements. ‘‘We need to take a wholistic approach by looking at teachers’ satisfaction; are they okay with it, how do they feel about the new technics and know whether it is going to add value same as getting parents views. We also need to benchmark with other schools and countries to see how these new techniques of teaching are being applied and their positive impact,’’ said Ms Wangeci.