This week, the M-Pesa Foundation Academy and Nairobi International School hosted author John Couch, who was first Vice President of Apple Inc., for a talk session on “rewiring education.” The chief guest was Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru.
Excerpts from the rewiring education Q&A:
- Kids come into employment fully trained in things that are no longer relevant. They then have to unlearn that, and we are working with universities to modernize the curriculum.
- Schools have to hire teachers who are registered with the Teachers Service Commission. But those who are there only have B.Ed (Bachelor of Education degrees), and lack skills to stand in front of students who are far ahead of them in technical knowledge.
- The Kenya government has developed a brilliant curriculum, that will start next year, but teachers have not been trained to deliver this. International schools take three years to retrain a teacher.
- The median age in Kenya is 19 years, and half the civil service is made up of teachers.
- The most important skill to have in life is (to embrace) continuous learning.
- Schools can currently evaluate student memorization, but not their creativity and innovation abilities.
- “When I was studying at Berkeley, California in the 1970’s, people thought the social revolution was taking place in the streets, but I knew it was taking place inside computers.”
- Safaricom set out to provide connectivity to all schools in Kenya and the government was to provide the devices.
- “The way we are teaching kids is a disservice and I am in the process of suing the UK government for wasting thirteen years of my life!”
- The US also treats teachers as a union problem, not a professional occupation. Teachers are underpaid and under-trained.