Nairobi, Kenya, June 4, 2021
By H. David Sauls
In a local meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 31, the reformation of the present Kenyan educational system was discussed with local teachers, representatives of the School Boards of Management, and members of the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission.
Among the participants was Fr. Antipas Odhiambo, a priest of the Nairobi Metropolis of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the proprietor of Ngando School and Community Centre, which incorporates the Orthodox faith into the curriculum.
The Ngando School was formerly the Dagoretti School, which was ruthlessly destroyed under armed escort by the Kenya Railway Company last October.
These local meetings are an opportunity for the voices of local school proprietors and teaching staff to have dialogue with senior members of the Ministry of Education, among others, enabling the authorities to have direct contact with those who are on the front lines educating endangered children in the poverty-stricken slums and sub-slums and settlement neighborhoods of Nairobi, and across the whole of Kenya.
Fr. Antipas’ school has been successful locally, and his attendance at such meetings is regular. It is essential for the school to work to improve scholastic education alongside the spiritual education that the vulnerable children of Nairobi receive.
The reforms would move the Kenyan educational system away from an exams-based system. The current system, known as 8-4-4, with eight years of primary education followed by four years of secondary school and four years of college or university, largely relies on exams-based advancement through the stages, which leaves some teachers under pressure to see their students perform. While quality education is essential, the interests of Kenyans have shifted such that the outcome of an education needs to address the shifting employment interests and educational aspirations of the whole of the student population in Kenya at all levels.
The new 2-6-6-3 education system splits the primary education curriculum into two categories: two years and six years respectively. After this, students enter junior secondary school for three years, then they proceed to senior secondary school for another three years. This will restructure the course students will follow at a more reasonable pace, allowing the student’s education at the necessary level to comport more with the changes in Kenyan interests, and put less pressure on the students to perform on examinations, as they will be evaluated through Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) on the skills acquired, as opposed to cramming for exams, as has been the case.
Fr. Antipas incorporates the Orthodox Faith into the Kenyan curriculum, teaching students the Divine Liturgy, the history and tradition of the Church, and basic dogmatics of Church theology. For any who desire to convert, he offers catechism and Baptism and serves the Divine Liturgy regularly. The picture above depicts the heart and soul of our Orthodox evangelism and those who are God’s teachers and ministers on earth who administer it at the altar, and in the classroom.
The new educational system being proposed would be more conducive to the religious instruction that students receive at Ngando, providing more time and opportunity to place an emphasis on faith-based education, which the children at Ngando love so much.
Please pray that this reform becomes a reality so that even more concentration can be placed on the Orthodox faith in the classrooms at Ngando School in Nairobi.
Fr. Antipas reports that the school is still struggling. Collecting the tuition of $10 per month per child is still difficult because parents have been so adversely affected by the pandemic. But no child is ever turned away.
If you would like to donate, please follow one of the links below. Please pray for Fr. Antipas and the staff and students of Ngando School and Community Centre. 100% of donations collected go directly to the needs of the school and staff: