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Published in CEMASTEA News Written by April 27 2023

By Dan Orero

CEMASTEA 'scoop' position 1 in the Exhibition category during the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM) 10th Anniversary as a State Corporation and the 4th National Cultural Celebrations held from 12th to 15th April 2023 with the theme: “A Decade of Excellence - Enhancing Development, National Cohesion, Identity and Pride” at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

CEMASTEA staff led by the C.E.O Mrs. Jacinta L. Akatsa, HSC poses with the certificate and the trophy after the win during the exhibition

Certificate and Trophy awarded to CEMASTEA for being position 1 in the exhibition category

 

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by April 27 2023

By Dan Orero

The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) on Thursday April 20, 2023 joined the Karen Nyumba Kumi Initiative in a drive to increase the forest cover which is in line with the presidential directive to attain the 10% tree cover. 

Speaking during the launch of the initiative at the Karen Blixen Museum, Mrs. Jacinta L. Akatsa - Chief Executive Officer of CEMASTEA affirmed that the Centre has set up tree nurseries and uses the same for donation of seedlings to schools through an outreach programme. “The tree planting and growing initiative aims at spurring a tree growing culture hence greening the country”, she added.

CEMASTEA staff led by the C.E.O, Mrs. Jacinta L. Akatsa, HSC

 leading the team during the Nyumba Kumi Initiative tree planting event.

The chief guest during the event, Dr. Kennedy Ondimu – Director, Environmental Services at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) challenged the participants to also promote bamboo growing in order to help achieve vision 2030 in making Kenya a middle income economy. “The bamboo trees will not only help in addressing the devastating effects of environmental degradation but also improve livelihoods,” he noted. “Can we invest in machines to make tooth pics?” he further posed. He appealed to the youth and women to take serious the production of the nature based product.

The National Government Administrative Officer (NGAO) who was represented by the Karen area Chief not only recommended to the nyumba kumi to plant more trees with the onset of rains but also adjured them to prune old trees to prevent disaster.

A section of a tree Nursery at CEMASTEA

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by March 17 2023

 

By David Kireru and Pauline Njiru

Article 10 of the Kenya Constitution defines the National Values and Principles of Governance that Kenyans are expected to espouse. National values are a Nation's lasting beliefs and ideals, guiding its citizens' actions and behaviours. They define what is important and worthwhile; and what is right versus wrong. Principles of Governance are standards that oblige the state to perform its functions in a manner that promotes the general well-being of its people.

Whenever State organs, State officers, public officers and all persons apply or interpret the Constitution; enact, apply or interpret any law; or make or implement public policy decisions: they are expected to abide by these National Values and Principles of Governance. The Kenya Constitution has 17 National Values and Principles of Governance. In this Issue, we briefly explain Patriotism, National Unity and Human Dignity.

  1. Patriotism (Uzalendo) refers to love, loyalty and devotion shown to one's country. It calls for one's selfless services and sacrifice for their motherland by, e.g. paying taxes, protecting national resources, and working hard to build the nation. We should be proud of our brand Kenya and CEMASTEA and defend it.
  2. National Unity (Umoja wa Kitaifa) refers to a state of oneness which results from shared values, vision, purpose and aspirations irrespective of the ethnic, cultural, economic, and religious or any other superficial status while recognising diversity. It is a choice to work as a team tracking the challenges Kenyans face as a Nation.
  3. Human Dignity (Hadhi ya Binadamu) is an honour bestowed on individuals and people, and the upholding of individual rights as spelt out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, regardless of one's status (Article 28). It is the idea that all humans should be treated with love and respect since they are human regardless of class, race, gender, nationality, sex, education and religion.

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Published in CEMASTEA News Written by March 17 2023

By Thuo Karanja & John Odhiambo

Inclusive educational practices are attitudes and methods, policies, values and practices that ensure all learners can access mainstream education regardless of whether they have exceptional 'labels'. In an inclusive school, everyone ensures learners feel welcome and valued and get the proper support to develop their talents and achieve their goals.

All children have a right to education. Inclusive education is the most effective way to give all children a fair opportunity to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive. However, in most contexts, learners with disabilities are often overlooked in policymaking, limiting their access to education and their ability to participate in social, economic and political life and decisions that most affect them. They are robbed of their right to learn through persistent barriers to education stemming from discrimination, stigma and failure of decision-makers to incorporate disability in school services and programmes. 

Applying the Universal learning design (UDL) forms the solution for practising inclusive education. UDL is an instructional design used to teaching and learning products, resources, methods of instruction and learning environments for all learners to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialised design. In UDL, teachers use various teaching methods adjusted for every learner's strengths and needs and build-in flexibility that removes barriers to learning, giving all learners equal opportunities to succeed. Briefly, it is driven by three principles. Representation is where learners are offered information in more than one format. While textbooks are primarily visual, providing text, audio, video, and hands-on allows all learners to access the resources in whichever way best suits their learning strengths. In action and expression, learners are given more than one way to interact with the material and show what they've learned. Learners could choose between taking a pencil-and-paper test, giving an oral presentation or doing a group project. Engagement is where

learners can make choices and do assignments relevant to their lives and interests, including the selection and opportunities for students to get up and move around the classroom.

Janet and James are learners with hearing impairment; what strategies would a school, implement to promote inclusive education for them?

Gender-responsive pedagogy (GRP) is also inclusive practice. In the cartoon about hearing impairment, not many would consider gender as a factor in inclusive education. Gender-responsive pedagogy entails teaching and learning processes that encourage equal participation and involvement of boys and girls. It considers boys' and girls' specific interests, learning styles and needs. GRP is not just looking at how to teach but also how to address gender in lesson planning, classroom management and assessment.

Tactile resources for teaching biology:  The  structure of theheart and the the flower

Other success factors for inclusive education include developing school leadership and teacher capacity to effectively implement universal design principles and inclusive psychosocial support for learners with disabilities. There is also the need for developing communities of practice to share best practices among teachers and raise community awareness on supporting children with disabilities.

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by March 17 2023

By Mungai Njoroge, PhD.

The education sector has a broad spectrum of criteria for "desired classroom teacher" This criterion is context specific and embodied through various titles and awards. In line with Sustainable Development Goal Number Four (SDG4), a desired classroom teacher ensures "inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all". In Kenya, some of the titles conferred to such a teacher include the teacher of the year award (TOYA), innovative/ICT teacher of the year (iTOYA) and principal of the year (POYA).

The desired teacher facilitates meaningful learning, which occurs when learners seek to relate new concepts and propositions to relevant existing concepts, and propositions in their cognitive structures and contextual experiences. The teacher encourages learners to actively engage in learning and take responsibility for their learning.

Such a teacher helps learners improve their learning skills, including those in the affective domain, such that students achieve a positive attitude toward learning concepts – irrespective of the subject, a sense of self-efficacy, the ability to manage frustration, and a willingness to take risks in learning. These desired teachers are also masters of scaffolding learning. These teachers strive to continuously improve student learning outcomes, such that learners move from the level of mere information and memorisation through conceptual understanding to application, working expertise (problem-solving), and then possibly to the highest level of creativity – as detailed by Bloom's taxonomy; that of the researcher who has "innovative expertise which can be used to develop new understanding and problem solutions" (see table)

 

Acknowledgement: The Ualimu Bora column has drawn some of the content (excerpts and the table) on "desired classroom teacher" from the following source:

Gathumbi, A. W., Njoroge, J. M., & Hintze, D. L. (2013). Towards Comprehensive Professional Development of Teachers: The Case of Kenya. International Journal of Process Education, 5(1), 3 – 14. Available: http://www.ijpe.online/2013/kenya.pdf

 

 

 

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by March 17 2023

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

CEMASTEA emerged the winner in the category of best state agency on DEIB emerging as top employer brand during the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards & Recognition (DIAR) 5th edition. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of CEMASTEA in creating an outstanding inclusive workplace environment.

CEMASTEA Disability Mainstreaming committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring a friendly environment to its members and customers on issues of Special Needs.

The award was received by CEMASTEA Board Chair, Dr. Mutisya, OGW, and C.E.O Madam Jacinta Akatsa, HSC.

CEMASTEA Board chair Dr. Mutisya, OGW, the C.E.O CEMASTEA, Madam Akatsa, HSC and members of staff receive the award on overall winner in the category of best state agency on DEIB emerging as top employer brand during the DIAR 5th edition

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by February 13 2023

By Thuo Karanja

Feedback is an essential part of science instruction. Feedback is any spoken or written response to a learner in response to their attainment levels in an assessment task, performance or product. While on most occasions, feedback is given by a teacher, learners can also give each other peer feedback. One of the most used feedback forms is grading learners' scores, marks, and grades. Such feedback is sometimes accompanied by comments such as 'good, keep it up, you need to improve, bravo, pull up your socks and see me' written on the answer scripts or in report cards. In some cases, teachers may use sarcastic, ambiguous and dismissive statements to describe attainment. Feedback is also given during the revision of assessment tasks, when teachers call up individual learners, or during academic days when parents are invited.

 

What is the role of feedback in learning? Feedback is intended to acknowledge learners' efforts and progress toward achieving the learning outcomes. Effective feedback should be constructive and point learners to ways to improve their learning and achievement. Studies have shown that most feedback given to learners is not practical or helpful in 'moving to learn forward'. Most learners claim that much of the feedback they receive is usually too late, vague, unclear and inconsistent to be beneficial. Feedback such as 'you are a great student', 'that was a clever response', 'well done', and 'very poor' focus personally on the learner and is not connected to the specifics of the learning goals and success criteria. It shows no evidence about the learning or the task. These are just general observations of success or failure and tend to attribute the success or failure to the personal aspects of the learner.

 

Research has repeatedly confirmed that feedback is more effective when it's comments based, specific and focuses more on the task, the subject and strategies for the learner's self-improvement/regulation. Self-regulation is essential, and learners need to be guided to utilise that feedback in identifying their strengths and weakness and where to put more effort into changing strategies for further development and learning. Feedback is considered weak and ineffective when it focuses on a learner's characteristics or is generalised vague comments and praise. For more knowledge and practice in the classroom and assessment feedback, watch a series of Vimeo videos by an expert on this subject, Dylan Wiliam, on https://vimeo.com/514647973

 

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by February 13 2023

By Martin Mungai and Winfred Magu

CEMASTEA has been at the forefront of promoting STEM education and particularly coding and robotics. The Centre, from 13th to 16th December 2022, organised a four-day STEM Coding and Robotics Boot Camp for 2022. The coding and robotics boot camp is an educational program that offers learners a platform to learn coding and robotics skills. Overall, the camp's goal was to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the rapidly-evolving fields of computer science and robotics. The camp brought g together learners from pre-primary, primary and secondary schools to impart them with relevant coding and robotics skills and hands-on experience that allowed them to apply the concepts they were learning in a practical setting. The specific objectives of a coding and robotics boot camp were;

  1. To provide students with a strong foundation in coding and programming languages, such as Python, Java, C++, or C#.
  2. To teach students how to design and build robots using various hardware and software tools.
  3. To provide students with hands-on experience working on coding and robotics projects, such as building and programming a robotic arm or creating a simple computer game.
  4. To help students develop problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking skills through designing and building robots and coding projects.
  5. Building a community of learners by giving learners opportunities to collaborate on projects, attend guest lectures and workshops, and connect with industry professionals.

During the camp, participants undertook intensive training where they explored Bionics, Creative coding, Robotics (A) – Tetrix, Robotics (B) – EV3 Kit, Mobile App Development, 3D and Graphics design – Fabrication and Arduino Prototyping. They developed projects to address societal problems such as mental health, gender-based violence and fire safety. The camp was highly interactive and provided them with opportunities to create, collaborate and ideate some of their projects.

 

 

Participants engaged in various activities during the boot camp

The opening ceremony was graced by the SAP representatives, who encouraged the participants to use such initiatives by CEMASTEA to build on their skills. They were equally urged to make use of the open learning platform from the SAP website to acquire a skill through the freely offered online courses.

The Closing ceremony was presided over by the Deputy Director of CEMASTEA, Madam Lydia Muriithi. She awarded participants with certificates of achievement and medals. In her remarks, she urged tie participants to continue upgrading their skills and ensure that they build on what they learned during the four days course. She also urged them to train their peers in school so that they could also benefit from the skills acquired.

The Boot Camp was co-sponsored by CEMASTEA with various partners. This includes STEM impact Kenya, Angaza Elimu, Africa Code Week (ACW) and iStart to support the camp activities. The partners offered financial and in-kind support, including trainers. Mr Martin, the deputy coordinator of STEM programmes, chaired the organising committee for boot camp. He commended the participants for observing discipline and being innovative in their projects.  

 

 

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by February 13 2023

By John Makanda & Dan Orero

The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards (DQAS) is mandated to provide advisory services and ensure an integrated and collaborative approach to improving basic education's quality and relevance. The Directorate collaborates with all institutions, practitioners, and critical stakeholders in the education sub-sector. CEMASTEA, in collaboration with the Directorate, organised a three-day workshop for Quality Assurance and Standards Officers. The workshops held from 24th to 26th October in four venues, Kakamega, Naivasha, Embu and Machakos, had the theme of strengthening the capacity of QASO to monitor and support the implementation of CBC and STEM activities at the school level.

 

Director of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education, Mrs Evelyne Owoko

The workshops brought together 375 officers and offered an opportunity to share experiences on implementing Competency-Based Curriculum STEM activities and supporting and monitoring SMASE activities at the County level. The workshops also aimed at equipping them with further skills for interpreting curriculum designs for effective monitoring and support at the school level.

STEM activities that promote learner-centred lessons for effective implementation of curriculum; and skills for effective monitoring and support of lesson study. While making her opening remarks to the team that converged in Kakamega, Madam Margaret Muandale, Director of Teacher Education, Ministry of Education, lauded CEMASTEA for her excellent work in enhancing the capacity of QASOs. She noted that the QASOs are essential in ensuring that education programmes are effectively implemented; they also support, mentor and coach teachers. She further advised QASOs to also pay attention to teachers' colleges for enhanced quality of teaching. 

 

CEMASTEA has trained teachers on using learners-centred strategies such as Inquiry-Based Learning, the 5E instructional model, Lesson study and ICT integration in teaching & learning, among others. Regarding that, the QASOs need to support teachers as they implement CBC and STEM activities in schools, which will, in turn, help transform teaching and learning to achieve the 21st Century outcomes, which include digital literacy, collaboration and formation of communities of practice, among others.

The opening ceremony at Naivasha was presided over by the Director of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education, Mrs Evelyne Owoko. The closing ceremony was presided over by the County Director for Education, Nakuru County Mr Fredrick M. Osewe.

 

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Quality Policy Statement

The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa is committed to providing training to curriculum implementers and conducting educational research in a timely, efficient and effective manner

The Centre is committed to satisfying customer, organizational, legal and ISO 9001:2015 requirements and to the continual improvement of its quality management system.

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