Thursday, October 05, 2006
A Day at Akiba
Here’s a picture of Anne being mobbed by primary students at the Akiba School. We visited the school yesterday, met with teachers and faculty, and sat in on several classes. I attended a KiSwahili class, a biology class, and a computer studies course. The Headmaster has asked if I could help teach 3 sections of computer skills starting next week! We’re still working out our schedules, but it looks like I will teach at Akiba several mornings a week through December. The computer classes will focus mainly on keyboarding and Microsoft Word and Excel for Form 1 and Form 2 students (high school freshman and sophomores).
Free primary education was instituted in Kenya a few years ago, but the average student-teacher ratio in public schools is 80 to 1. Many families in the slums cannot “afford” free education because students are required to purchase uniforms and bring their own desks. In addition, parents are reluctant to forfeit the money their children could make from begging during the day. The public school facilities here are atrocious and Akiba offers a strong alternative by providing small class sizes, excellent teachers, and a quality Christian education.
The students at Akiba come from a variety of economic backgrounds, but all of them would be considered poor by American standards. Many live in the neighboring slums of Kangemi, Kawangware, or Sodom (named for its reputation as a hotbed of criminal activity at night). Some of the students pay their own school fees while others receive sponsorships. Ten students are actually orphans and former street children who stay in a small apartment at the school with a caretaker. . .In general, the students here are very disciplined and seem to be quite bright, hardworking, and eager to learn. Education is seen as an opportunity to escape poverty and students take their studies very seriously. Please pray for the graduating classes as they study for their National Exams this week. Performance on the exams is a big factor in determining college and trade school admissions as well as the availability of job opportunities.