Learning to Live Together implementation in schools in Kenya: An interview with Mrs. Mary Wanjiru
An interview was conducted with Mrs. Mary Wanjiru Kangethe who is Assistant Director of Education in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology in Kenya. She spoke of the Ministry of Education and Science's implementation of Learning to Live Together Programme in schools in Kenya, the aims and experiences.
The learning to Live Together programme was introduced to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology Kenya through a basic training workshop held in 2013 targeting actors in child development and protection in the public sector and the NGOs. In September 2014, twelve senior managers in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology were sensitized on LTLT. This was followed by a Training of Trainers workshop targeting technical officers from the Ministry and curriculum developers. An intensive training of 25 teachers from Tana Delta Sub-County in Tana River County (where the programme would be piloted) was then conducted. The pilot of the programme is currently ongoing and a follow-up training for school administrators and the 25 teachers is planned for January 2014.
The LTLT programme was introduced in Kenya to complement the Peace education initiative in schools. It is envisaged that through the programme the development of life-skills and values for promoting harmonious coexistence will be enhanced.
The major conflicts in Kenya are based on ethnic differences. The country also comprises citizens who profess different faiths. The Learning To Live Together programme will contribute to peace and harmonious coexistence in the country .The programme is being piloted in a context that is multicultural and with learners who profess different faiths. The Learning to Live Together programme provides a tool for promoting dialogue among the learners. Through its emphasis on establishment of a safe learning environment, the programme will provide both the physical and psychological safety for learners to develop skills and values for peaceful coexistence.
The learning process of the programme ensures that the learners not only understand the concept but also internalize the key learning points so that they can apply them in their immediate environment. The programme is also activity oriented hence it meets the learning needs of students. In this regard, it captivates learners to remain engaged in the learning process.
The teachers appreciate the Learning to Live Together programme and feel that the it enables each one of them "be an agent of peaceful coexistence in the school and in society at large." (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/nairobi/about-this-office/single)
They specifically appreciated the activities and other tools in the Manual. They however expressed challenges in the use of the manual, as some of the information was not directly relevant to their context. This necessitates the development of a Teacher Activity Book that adapts the proposed activities within the kiosks to the Kenyan context. Currently the officers of the Ministry of Education who were trained in September are developing the Teacher Activity Book with the guidelines and support from Arigatou International Geneva. All in all the programme will inform the strengthening of life skills and value-based education in Kenya
In my view, the Learning to Live Together programme is effective in the promotion of peace and harmonious communities as it allows in-depth exploration of issues and is experiential and participatory. In view of the fact that most schools focus on academic subjects at the expense of value based /affective dimension, there is need to effectively develop teachers' capacity to deliver the content.
Lastly teachers also need to be supported to deal with the emerging challenges in the implementation process through regular monitoring and evaluation (both internal and external), role that the Ministry will be taken with support of Arigatou International Geneva and UNESCO.