Friday, March 25, 2011

CEK Career Talk Session – St. John’s Secondary School.

The Session Aim;
A few years ago, CEK made a contact with the St. Johns secondary school, and cemented a friendship with the aim of helping the students. Top on the agenda was to create a progressive academic awareness to the students who come from the nearby Majengo informal settlement. Due to the poor nature of the residents, the students normally display a withdrawn behavior towards education and more so hating some of the subjects in school, despite them being clever enough to excel in them. This is an area that CEK saw the need to come in and bridge the gap through career sessions with the students. Demystifying of some of the myths about “hard” subjects being one of the top notch strong points needed to bring a positive attitude towards the subjects and the much needed education at large. It was quite evident that if stringent measures were not taken, some of the students may as well hate and leave schooling, before getting involved in antisocial behaviors, like drugs abuse, peddling and alcoholism among many other dangers.

The Day;
It s on a hot dusty Thursday afternoon on the 24th Feb. 2011, the day we had set for the visit. Having deliberated duties in an earlier meeting on who was to take part in this activity, a group of 4 volunteers were available to take up the first session of the year. Peter, Irene, George and Kanja were the guys to hold the mantle shoulder high. Despite it being a working day, everyone was able to get to the office at the agreed time and off the team hit the road to the school. It being a short distance from the city center, it took us a few minutes to arrive at the school.

On arrival we meet we were warmly welcomed by the teacher on duty a Mr. Francis who led us to the head of science department, Mr. Obwaka. He led the way upstairs to his office where we held a short conversation consisting of introduction and the motive of the visit. To our surprise we learned that he was actually a scholar and had in fact written a physics textbook that is accredited by the ministry of education and is used as a syllabus textbook in the country for form 4 students. He had also taught some high profile individuals who have risen to become charismatic lawyers, doctors, engineers and pilots among many others. On top of this, he has also taught in national schools such as State house girls and Alliance high school.

The Physics book authored by Mr. Obwaka.

The Session;

We were then guided by Mr. Obwaka to a classroom where the form 3 and form 4students were anxiously awaited. A quick introduction was done by the schools’ chemistry teacher to the students and then left us to carry on with our planned activity. Kanja was the session moderator. He gave a brief introduction about CEK before we introduced ourselves. Kanja then gave an over view about careers and how to make the best career choices based on an individual’s talent, passion and performance in school. This served as a good avenue to helping the students clearly understand the term CAREER and its benefits. This also helped to break the barrier between us and the students, therefore creating a conducive environment where we interacted openly. It was fun….!

Ms. Amina, demonstrating the first rule....."Slow Down"

At this moment, we supplied the students with each a piece of paper where everyone had to write at least two of his/her career choice/s. One being the major career and the other one being the minor career choice in case the major one fails to materialize. Soon after this, we collected all the papers and arranged them according to the careers proposed, i.e. engineering, medicine, journalism, lawyers etc. We were so motivated to find out how optimistic and ambitious the students were despite the challenges they faced. This showed the amount of hope they had in them albeit the lack of educational materials and reading aids.

We later divided the students into four groups. This was done in order to have an in depth one on one conversation with the students. We also wanted to enlighten them over the requirements needed to pursue the different careers they had chosen. This was an interesting activity since the students were able to open up and share their problems, weaknesses and fears’ that they face in school and also at home. They also shared deeply about the pressure around them, emanating from the community such as negative peer pressure, lack of resources, not forgetting the paining domestic problems in their homes. All these added up together; greatly affect their performance in school, resulting to poor grades and negative attitude.

Irene sharing ideas with group "1" students team

Discussion (Help) Groups;

The group’s discussion and sharing went on for the better part of the evening. Kanja had a difficult time to wind-up the activity since there was still so much to be shared. After all, we had to put a stop and promise to continue from where we left in another day. We divided the students into 3 major groups which will form the focal points of academic discussions and help points. The groups elected two leaders who will be the main communicators to CEK and the subject teachers. The students will be discussing issues amongst themselves in the evenings during the private study moments, where they will help each other in solving problems especially in mathematics and sciences. The group leaders will have a responsibility of approaching any teacher whose advice will be needed by the group to come and address the issue at the group level. This will greatly help in demolishing the barriers between students and “certain” teachers in the school. Performance will greatly be improved in various subjects where students normally have difficulties. Female students greatly welcomed the idea and promised to utilize the opportunities offered for their benefit.

George sharing ideas with group "2" students.

Winding Up;

At this moment, we all headed outside the classroom to the school’s compound where we took a group photograph. We also exchanged contacts with the students for future consultations and follow up on how they were carrying on. Two students gave the final comments about the day’s event and highly thanked the CEK for the visit and the encouragement offered. The CEK team also gave their remarks and thanked the students for their dedication, interaction, discipline and respect that was displayed during the session. It was truly a highly beneficial moment for the young eager to learn students.

As the dusk approached, we had to hurriedly bid farewell to the students and off we left. Within a few minutes, we managed to get to the office where we had a short meeting where Carol joined the group. The agenda for the meeting was to discuss the activity of the day in summary. We also discussed about the forth coming sessions and how best we shall handle them. A tentative program for the coming sessions was also discussed at length before we unanimously decided to call it a day and dispersed.

The group foto

Words can’t be enough to explain the success of the day’s activity, but given the feedback from the teachers and the students alike, we can proudly announce that we touched the hearts of many and opened a new chapter in their school life. To Inspire, Empower and Engage are the main pillars for success in everything that CEK undertakes…! Looking forward to the next session.

Report by; Ng'ang'a Peter.


Beau said...

Good work guys. I am impressed.

peter nganga said...

kanja this is awesome!am just recalin the days event,..nice one