The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) has trained over 11,000 mathematics and science teachers online countrywide since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March interrupting its erstwhile face to face programs.
The new norm online in-service Education and Training (INSET) using Google Classroom system to capacity build teachers on innovative pedagogy has in the same period honed 1,163 County Trainers in all the 47 devolved units.
CEMASTEA Director Jacinta Akatsa said during a virtual ceremony to recognise and award outstanding teachers and trainers that the exercise had ensured quality training and learning continued even as schools are closed in the wake of the pandemic.
She said the awards comprising certificates, trophies, laptops and cash were meant to motivate and encourage the teachers and praised e-Kitabu— a premier local e-book store that distributes books and interactive content— for partnering with CEMASTEA for the initiative.
“Besides the awards, it was by dint of collaboration between e-Kitabu and CEMASTEA that an online competition was conceived and introduced to enable teachers to develop and deliver content online to learners using a suitable learning management system. The competition started at the County level and proceeded to the regional and national levels,” stated Akatsa.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Director of Quality Assurance Dr Reuben Nthamburi who represented TSC Chief Executive Officer Dr Nancy Macharia said teachers needed lots of emotional support to efficiently execute remote teaching.
“It calls for professional flexibility, patience, personal strength and endurance to deliver in unpredictable circumstances where technology such as the internet can suddenly fail midstream. Teaching remotely is truly challenging and only the best and dedicated can excel,” said Dr Nthamburi.
Nthamburi hailed CEMASTEA and e-Kitabu for organising the competition, saying remote learning was the way to go for the future where other pandemics and disruptions were likely.
“We in the TSC take proud cognizance of the fact that CEMASTEA has gone fully digital to fit into the dynamics of the prevailing atmosphere. That is innovation and a move in the right direction to cope with uncertain times,” he said.
Eight top teachers and trainers from the eight regions each received a lap-top, a trophy and a certificate of excellence. Three teachers and three trainers who emerged the best nationally had their awards accompanied with cash prizes with the second runners up pocketing Sh50,000, the first runners up Sh75,000 and the overall two winners Sh100,000 each.