When the government announced resumption of learning in schools early this year, many institutions faced the challenge of attaining social distance in classrooms as it was directed by the Ministry of Health.
With the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the government announced a raft of measures which learning institutions were expected to comply with so as to contain the spread of the contagion.
A school in Murang’a with a population of about 1,200 faced a bigger challenge in attaining the required social distance.
Administration of Njiiri Boys School was forced to establish more classrooms to attain the social distance.
The school’s principal Chomba Kamau noted that they were forced to put up 11 more classrooms so as to decongest the already existing ones.
With more classrooms, the challenge remained to get more teaching staff to cater for the extra classrooms.
“Initially we had 36 classrooms but after the government’s directive, we were forced to increase the number to 47. This demanded more teachers which we could not get from the Teachers Service Commission,” he added.
Kamau saying that, “with big number of students, the School Board of Management was to employ at least 24 teachers but this was a very expensive exercise.”
The principal added that after long deliberations, the school’s administration opted to adopt a new technology where a teacher can teach several classes at once.
The new digital platform, Kamau observed , would facilitate proper learning of the students as well as minimize face to face teaching.
The institution was forced to part with 2.3 million shillings to purchase and set up a virtual learning system.
Kamau observed that the new mode of teaching, despite helping to contain the spread of covid-19, has also made teaching easier as well as adding value to education.
“It has made learning easier and more fun as the teachers are able to use visual illustrations and video clips and this helps the students to capture and understand the context being taught,” he elucidated.
The principal further noted that although the use of the digital platform was an intervention measure taken during the pandemic, they will continue using it urging other schools to embrace it.
A teacher in charge of ICT at the institution Mr. Stephen Njoroge said they outsourced an android application known as (trucomf) which is server based. The application allows a teacher to engage all the 13 classes in a particular lesson.
Njoroge explained that a teacher is required to have a laptop connected to an external microphone and a camera so that the students can be able to see and hear him.
On the other end, the classrooms are fitted with television screens which are android programmed, a microphone and camera for easier interactions with the teacher.
He said the teacher is required to feed content into the laptop and when the learning session kicks off, it will display on the screens in the classrooms.
“We have created an internal network for the gadgets and thus we don’t require the internet to run the lessons” he said.
Njoroge says the concept is a modified version of the ‘zoom’ application which was being used by teachers to conduct lessons when the students were at home.
“We are looking forward to having our customized program specifically for this school which we can be using at all times but this would require more expertise and funds and I appeal to the government to chip in,” he added.