NAIROBI, Kenya (ViaNews) – Ruth Chirchir is an educationalist, mentor and leader in her own right. She has taught thousands of Kenyan pupils spread over five counties in the East African nation. Her stellar career, which has spun over 30 years, gives Chichir the pedigree in matters education, life skills and child development.
We sat down with the head teacher of Moi Avenue Primary at the school where she shared her thoughts on the new education curriculum in Kenya and vision, as she settles into her new role.
ViaNews interview with the head teacher at Moi Avenue Primary School, Ruth Chirchir.
Ronnie Evans: Thank you for having us. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Ruth Chirchir: Currently, I am the head teacher at Moi Avenue Primary School. I have been the head teacher for the last five months but I have been a teacher for the last 34 years. Teaching has been my passion. I did not end up teaching by accident. It was by choice and I have had the advantage of teaching or working in at least five counties in Kenya.
What key pointer have you noted in terms of the curriculum?
During my 34 years of teaching experience, I have taught in five counties and in different schools, more than 10 actually. I have worked in Bomet County, Kericho County, Kajiado County, Nakuru County and currently Nairobi County.
I came into the teaching profession at a time when there was an emphasis on mean score, mean score and mean score! But I am happy that the new curriculum is now really encouraging talent. The CBC (Competency-Based Curriculum) is talent based and this will actually encourage inclusiveness in terms of those children who may not be able to perform highly.
What are some of the co-curricular activities in your school?
In Moi Avenue Primary School, we actually take part in different co-curricular activities. The last term, we had children who competed in drama festivals at least up to the county level and right now we have a group practising for the music festivals.
We have also been very privileged despite the fact that we are in the city centre where we hardly have enough field for the children to play. We have a small field in our school and our children have been making use of the field.
Are there any exceptional children in your ranks?
Right now we have international players in our school. We have a boy in class seven called John Nyanganyi who has been playing for the Under-17. He has had the advantage of playing in Tanzania. He has gone to various countries and actually this August he is going to represent the country in Spain.
It is a big advantage to our school because he actually encourages the others and makes them know that one does not think about only excelling in class. If you cannot excel in class, you can excel in extracurricular activities. By so doing, others have been encouraged. We also have another boy in class six called Roel Jude who might also be joining him (Nyanganyi). He is younger and playing for the Under-12 team.
As an educator, what is your vision and take on child development?
It has been my prayer to develop an all-round child who becomes a useful member of the community. I have always encouraged the pupils by saying that it is not always in class that you score high marks. You can score high marks anywhere even in the co-curricular activities and there is always a place for each and every child in the society. This includes the child who scores 400 marks (out of 500) in class and the child who scores 100 marks and below.
The only thing that we need to do is to make sure that we are able to identify their talents and to encourage them to work towards their talents. At the end of the day, everybody will have a place in the society.
Do you face any challenges as a school?
Within the short time that I have been here (five months), it has not been without challenges. The main challenge is the retention of children. Being a school in the city centre, most of the children who are here are the children of the people who work at the city centre. So it is not home. It is not their permanent home.
They (parents) have been posted to come and work here in Nairobi. Every now and then, there are transfers and when the parents are transferred it affects the children. We actually keep admitting every day of the year and we also get children coming for transfers every now and then. That notwithstanding, it is not discouraging us from working and we will work well with the people who are here.
Out of curiosity, we sought the talented Nyangangi who did not disappoint. He was able to show us a bit of his skill and revealed that he was an ardent Real Madrid fan. In July, he will represent Kenya Under-17 category through Taifa Sports Academy in the Barcelona Summer Cup, Spain.