Teaching in villages and town estates looks set to start. This is as the Ministry of Education rushes to close the gap in learning after the suspension of the 2020 academic calendar year. In a set of guidelines from the Teachers Service Commission, teachers will be required to arrange classes of not more than 15 learners in estates and villages for four hours daily.

The tutors will be required to register with education officials within their locality to facilitate planning of face-to-face lessons. TSC is fine-tuning the new guidelines as it prepares to roll out free community-based learning

The programme targets more than 10 million learners in public schools that are not offering virtual lessons like most private academies.The children have been home since March when schools were shut to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Schools  remain closed until next year.With many study weeks lost and cases of early pregnancies and drug abuse among learners reported each day, the community-based programme is expected to ease parents’ burden. Under the new community-based learning programme, classes will take place in open places and halls under strict adherence of Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols.

During the face-to-face lessons, teachers will be required to engage learners on life skills and values such as weeding, cultivating, grazing animals, storytelling, planting, debating life issues and hygiene, among others.

Tutors will also be required to offer guidance, counselling and psychosocial support as guided by the code of regulations for teachers. In addition to these, teachers may also provide learning activities in reading and numeracy and other subjects of interest to learners to keep them engaged.
This means teaching classroom work to cover parts of the syllabus lost due to the prolonged closure of schools may be possible with the requirement that teachers group the learners based on their age and classes.

And grading of learners will also be permitted, as teachers will be required to adopt group work with emphasis on peer-to-peer learning. “The teachers should use discussion groups during learning and even grading can be done among peers,” reads the draft guideline.

The details are contained in draft TSC guidelines for community-based learning programme.The commission will monitor and supervise the programme through decentralised services at regional, county and zonal level.
TSC says regional, county and sub-county directors and curriculum support officers will coordinate and monitor the involvement of teachers. Orientation of teachers on learner engagement will also be carried out.

At the same time, the TSC rules will require teachers to register with curriculum support officers and sub-county directors within areas they are currently living. This means teachers will not be required to travel to their workstations, as they will be deployed to manage classes from where they presently live.

And while in the designated learning venues, teachers will be required to monitor the progress and status of learners and provide the information to curriculum support officers. The Ministry of Interior will monitor and ensure no learner fails to participate in the programme.

While teaching and interacting with learners, teachers will be required to emphasize modern pedagogical practices, like group work, peer feedback and blended or ‘flipped’ learning. The activities may also be conducted online and may help to extend students’ attention spans.

Classes will also be advised to utilise radio, television and online content within their reach. This means that learners will be allowed to use digital devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones during lessons. The commission, however, warns teachers to be aware of digital gaps that may affect teaching from home situations.

“Students may be living with family members who impact engagement to technology problems, students may have older technologies or slower Internet speeds to different learning styles. Teachers need to take these differences into account when helping their students,” says the guidelines.

The TSC rules will require teachers to utilize local resources during learners’ engagement and conduct remote daily or weekly follow up with students and parents. “They are to develop task-based activities for learners to undertake during the session and even while with their parents at home,” reads the document on the TSC rules.

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