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Young people need experiences outside the classroom

President’s Award-Kenya Board of Trustee Susan Omanga presents an Award certificate to the Award leader at Shimo La Tewa Borstall Institution.[PHOTO: COURTESY OF PA-K]

Over 300 Bronze and Silver President’s Award-Kenya (PA-K) participants from 28 schools in the Coast region were recognized and awarded certificates for successfully completing the two levels of the Award program.

At the same time, 15 Senior Principals and Award leaders were also recognized for the support that they give to thousands of young people in terms of volunteering their time and skills and ensuring the successful implementation of the Award program in the learninginstitutions.The ceremony was officiated by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Coast Regional Director Ms. Julliet Kariuki and witnessed by PA-K Chief Executive Officer Ms. Nellie Munala, Ministry of Education Coast Regional Director of Quality Mr. Nerry Otieno and PA-K Board of Trustees. Ms. Kariuki noted that the youth are confronted with high levels of socio-economic challenges making them the most vulnerable population in the society.

She said they require social, political, and economic support to realize their full potential and lead dignified lives. This makes it even more important that they are deliberately exercising a choice of extra-curricular activities and doing it in a way that requires connecting with other people. Ms. Kariuki commended The President’s Award-Kenya for offering a balanced progressive program to young people and ensuring that their achievements outside of academia are recognized and celebrated.

She emphasized the importance of formal education saying it is vital in helping young people to arm themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the world of tomorrow.

However, she reiterated that formal education alone is not enough to ensure that young people have the skills to tackle life’s many challenges head-on.“Young people also need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible, and fulfilled citizens of the world,” she said.She noted that the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), has a shared vision with the President’s Award-Kenya of empowering young people for life.

“In the current education, so many children are not empowered at the end of basic education. CBC system is principled in mutual social responsibility; that there is no person in the African culture who is considered useless and every person has a role to play in national development,” noted Ms. Kariuki.

CBC's mission is to nurture all learner’s potential which means no child will exit from basic education without having been empowered with competencies that they can apply in national development. She said changes in the world demand that young people be equipped with competencies that highly fit the labor market; people who are highly viable at job performance.

PA-K CEO Ms. Nellie Munala said the Award program is a non-formal education framework that provides young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years with the environment and skill set necessary for discovering their talents and helping them to contribute positively to their communities and the world. It helps young people to believe in themselves and enables them to appreciate the diversity of the world, and makes them ready for life.

Munala elaborated that there are three levels of the Award program one can do which, when successfully completed will lead to a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award. Gold is the third and final level of the Award, and takes a minimum of 12 months to complete or 18 months if one has not completed Silver. In the Award, PA-K believes that not all learning happens in the classroom and therefore the operations are in terms of guiding institutions on how they can structure their free time such that as much as learning happens in the classroom, the learning that happens outside the classroom is intentional therefore PA-K provides a framework for that.She said PA-K’s Strategy realignment is to provide enhanced access, expand its reach and demonstrate the impact of the Award in transforming lives and communities.She revealed that there are over 120,000 young people currently participating in the Award in over 1,200 schools, Universities, Middle-level Colleges, Youth groups, rehabilitation centers, and open Award Centres across the country.

Globally, more than one million young people are striving to achieve their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards in more than 140 countries and territories. The President’s Award – Kenya ranks 1st in the Africa Regional and 2nd globally after the United Kingdom for its participation levels and impact on society. Ms. Munala stressed that the Award in Kenya has included young people from diverse social-cultural, economic, and geographicalbackgrounds.“The Award is available in correctional centres, and borstal institutions and is being rolled out to inmates in prison departments within theAward participation age bracket,” she said.

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