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Cheplelachbei Primary School pupils wow netizens in viral video

Ian Lagat (right), Abel Kipchumba (center) and Bramwel Kiptoo, pupils of Cheplelachbei Primary School in Nandi. [Edward Kosut, Standard] 

Netizens were excited by a video of three pupils donned maroon sweaters and navy blue shorts reading the news in turns, just like journalists reporting for television in fluent Kiswahili. 

The videos were circulated on Facebook, Twitter and Tiktok, and the leaners' journalistic talent admirably attracted a huge number of viewers. 

The Standard team traced the trio to Cheplelachbei primary, a little-known school located along Kapsabet-Nairobi highway in Nandi Hills constituency.

Ian Lagat, Bramwell Kiptoo and Abel Kipchumba were anxiously waiting to showcase the talents that shot them into the limelight.

Ian, a 14-year-old Grade Seven pupil said he never expected the video to go viral. The footage was taken by their teachers as they made a presentation to guests at the school.

"We learned from our teachers that people were looking for us since the video had gone viral. It unbelievable that people were impressed with our work," he stated.

Ian was the lead anchor in the trending video. He introduced his colleagues who acted as TV correspondents reporting from the drought-stricken areas in Turkana.

He narrated that since childhood he loved watching TV and listening radio.

"I liked Radio Maisha and a day never went by without listening to presenters like Victor Mulama among others. They are fluent in Kiswahili and I use to imitate them on during school events for entertainment," he stated. 

Since the government rolled out the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), the school management says it provided an opportunity for learners to practice their interests, talents and hobbies.

The new education model has enabled the pupils to explore their potential professions including journalism, agriculture, and health among other fields. 

Kiptoo,12, a Grade Six pupil, claimed that the practicals have given them a chance to come up with nnovative ideas and interact with other groups of pupils with common interests.

Noting that lack of training materials and teaching aids is a major setback in rural schools, Kiptoo claimed to have used the available resources the school and parents can afford for them. 

"Most of the practicals need costumes and equipment. Our teachers use their cellphones to record audio and shoot videos in place of cameras, which are costly to purchase," revealed Kiptoo.

Ian, Kiptoo and Abel are working as a group and they looking forward to joining Kapsabet Boys once they are through with primary education, and also hopefully proceeding to Kenyatta University to pursue media studies.

"Our teachers have been supportive and giving all that they could to ensure that we develop our talents. They spend their personal money to acquire the little they could and we appeal that the government consider learning aids including microphones, television, and radios among other electronics for the school," said Abel.

Ian's mother, Teresa Koech said that his children are fond of listening to the radio and watching TV since they were children, little did she know that they were harbouring journalistic dreams. 

"They perfectly imitated some of the journalists and it was so amazing with the Kiswahili fluency they had acquired. They came out well when the CBC was introduced and I am impressed with their performance," she stated, claiming that the new system is costly to parents, but it's preparing the children according to their areas of interest. 

Kevin Madahana Imbenzi, a Kiswahili teacher and also patron for the school’s journalism club is said to have tailored locally available materials to be used by the learners in executing their practicals.

"We prepare them to understand more about the professions they are looking to work in. But what we are missing is the actual aspect of the practicals as CBC demands the pupils to be provided with some teaching aides which the school cannot access," he claimed.

However, Mr Imbenzi said CBC helps to identify the children's talents at an early age and urged the Ministry of Education to review discriminative areas where the new model is not applicable.