School Meeting Day in Kenya

by Ana Cecilia, Work-Study, IHF Kenya
Last week was the first time I assisted to a parent-teacher meeting. I am sure that the school I went is one of the best schools that our children attend to. Actually, we only have one boy that goes to this school, and he is quite privileged.

Because Krop was one of the top students when he finished primary school, he got the opportunity of choosing which secondary school he wanted to go to.

image3The meeting was not as many of my colleagues usually say it was: Three hours of Kiswahili, many prayers, and nothing productive. This time, the teacher told the small group of parents that he was going to try to make it short and effective, and that if everyone was okay with it, he would do it in English so “our sister” can understand.
Two mothers did not like the idea of doing the meeting in English so the teacher did translation of pretty much all the information.
While sitting there surrounded by the parents of the other classmates and with the presence of the kids, I realized how important it is for our children to have someone that supports and gives them the necessary attention, and at the same time, I realized how difficult this is.
image1Most of the parents have maximum 6 or 7 children to take care of, but at the center we have more than 65! This means that we should be keeping track of 65 schedules, exams dates, grades, school fees, etc. and at some point it becomes very difficult. Volunteers change very often, directors leave after one year, teachers don’t understand why every time there is a meeting it is someone differ there, but for us, it is the only way to do it, and the best we can.

The most important things told at the meeting were related to advising and guiding children through the path of discipline in their education. They are encouraged to work hard and study as much as possible, as well as staying away from bad company that could influence them to behave in the wrong way.

I have to say that I agreed to most of the things being said and that I found just little contradictions in the speech of the teacher. They have a very strong way of talking telling the children things such as: “if you disobey your father, you are paving your own way to your grave”. No wonder why sometimes they consider that beating the children is a good idea.

I also had an opportunity to talk to the school principal. He received me very kindly in his office and we ended up discussing my first impressions and his opinions about the educational system in Kenya.

One of the things from the principal’s office that called my attention was a paper that he had on the board with the current enrollment of secondary school, and it’s very evident how the boys outnumber the girls by a big difference. For example, in Form 1, there are 124 boys and 76 girls. I asked him the reason for this and he said that women are usually required to stay at home and help the mother with the house chores; another reason is that parents prefer girls to go only to Girls Schools.

image2
In general, I thought it was an interesting experience to get to know the school of one of our boys, and now I am curious to meet other schools.

Before leaving the school I found a sign in one of the walls that said: “Polite notice: there is no room for the lazy”.

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