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GSF-Ark Fellowship with Dignitas: Khaleda Qureshi and Hannah Bridges visit Nairobi, Kenya

Improving classroom and school practise in Kenya: Ark teachers Khaleda Qureshi and Hannah Bridges share learnings from their fellowship to Nairobi, Kenya. Global Schools Forum (GSF), in collaboration with Ark, facilitated a Fellowship programme in August 2022 that aimed to foster peer learning and professional development for Ark staff and some of GSF’s member organisations. 

One of the projects supported Dignitas, a member of GSF’s community of non-state organisations, to strengthen Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for school transformation. Ark team members, Khaleda and Hannah, travelled to Nairobi in Kenya to work with Dignitas, an organisation that has worked with more than 186 schools and thousands of school leaders and teachers in Kenya since 2011. Dignitas offers training and coaching to school leadership teams in Kenya, improving the quality of learning for all children.

Khaleda and Hannah spoke to us about supporting Dignitas to improve education outcomes. Khaleda told us about her experience working with them in Nairobi.

GDF Dignitas Fellowship

"The Fellowship involved working with Dignitas on Professional Learning Communities (PLC), a core component of Dignitas' support to schools. Our project assessed the PLC system for teachers to help improve classroom and school practice. The PLC has been introduced to help schools and teachers identify and problem-solve with their community. Before our departure, we had online meetings with Dignitas to review the project and manual they wanted us to work on. Once in Nairobi and in our first week, we had our first presentation to the Dignitas team to show our current findings from their manual. Ng'ang'a Kibandi, Advocacy and Development Director, Roselynn Awili and Faith Muisyo, Programs Directors, and the rest of the School Support Team (SST) joined us for the presentation. It was very nerve-racking to present in front of such well-experienced practitioners.

“We also joined the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) training session, the new education system in Kenya introduced in 2017 that is currently set to replace the 8-4-4 education system (eight years of primary education, four years of secondary, and four years of university education). The CBC has been researched and developed by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and the training was led by educationist, enterprise, and public policy practitioner, Dr. Christine Owinyi. We learnt a lot from this session, which helped inform our research and understanding of the curriculum in Kenya and the challenges teachers face."

Talking about the incredible insights gained from visiting schools to inform research and understanding, Hannah shared her experience about the fellowship's positive outcomes with us.  

“We had the opportunity to visit two schools to observe a lesson and a PLC in action, escorted by the PLC coach, Victoria Adembesa. The first school was Mosester Basics in the Imara Daima area, which is situated in informal settlements, where we had the pleasure of observing teacher Ms. Charity teaching a PP2 class (five-year-olds). The work and the management of the class was one of the most outstanding lessons we had seen. Our second school was Siloam D, where we observed a PLC run by school leaders trained by Dignitas, giving us great insights into the process and what they are trying to achieve and improve.

“Our final presentation and training session was on our last few days in Kenya. We refined their manual and showed procedures to enable more progressive meetings, providing some resources based on the CBC training and anticipating their next training situations. It was met with warmth and enthusiasm, and it felt that Dignitas welcomed the input. It was definitely a two-way street; we learnt and took from this experience as much as they did.” 

The Dignitas team would like to thank the Fellowship initiative by GSF that allowed Ark fellows to support our work on school leadership in August. Hannah and Khaleda worked alongside our school support team to create and review resources for implementing effective PLCs for school transformation. As Dignitas embarks on the scale and sustainability of our programmes, these resources will go a long way in supporting the process. 

Roselynn Awili, Program Director, Dignitas

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