OUR LEARNERS’ SAFETY IS OUR CONCERN
As we enter a critical phase of declining positivity rate of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Commission wishes to thank all teachers for their continued compliance with MOH directives.
Our collective resolve as a nation to stay safe is bearing fruits and we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. We thank you for taking personal responsibility in staying safe and ensuring that your loved ones are also safe.
A silver lining of our stay at home is that the internet has become increasingly important in many teachers’ lives.
The “new normal” is that among other things, teachers’ money transactions, professional research and social engagement have all gone digital.
With only the basics of a smart phone and internet connectivity, many teachers have been engaging their learners online besides exploiting the immense potential of internet platforms for their personal and professional development.
We appreciate some teachers’ efforts in creating and distributing digital teaching and learning content. In this regard, their engagement with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is very commendable.
Other teachers continue with their invaluable “quality assurance” role of vetting and directing learners to safe internet sites where they can engage in learning and creative leisure activities.
The value of your recommendation of what is good for your learners in the real and online worlds is incalculable.
While we urge you to continue with this good work, please also talk about internet dangers with your learners and their parents.
This is because unregulated access to the internet can lead to unwelcome consequences for our learners especially those who are at a young and impressionable age.
Some of these unwanted results include cyber-bullying and exposure to inappropriate content.
Use every opportunity to advise parents to supervise the usage of their smartphones, iPads and computers by their children to mitigate online risks. One way is by having a specific chatting or researching time in an open place where the children are visible to the parents.
Thereafter the internet data or home Wi-Fi can be switched off. Another intervention is installing children friendly apps in digital appliances that filter inappropriate content by restricting children to a few sites where they can browse.
As with physical harassment, encourage parents to be proactive in identifying signs of internet bullying such as withdrawal and other unusual behaviour that could result from unsupervised online access.
You can assist them to report any cases of cyber-bullying or incidents of inappropriate online content directed at your learners by sending an email to Communications Authority of Kenya via the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call their hotlines: +254703042700 or +254730172700 or report to the nearest police station where the matter will be escalated to cybercrime unit. As you report, capture details of the sites’ URL.
Where circumstances allow, talk with your learners about their well-being. Take up any cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of learners with the relevant authorities such as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, National Council for Children’s Services field officers and security agencies.
TSC is particularly proud of the Beacon Teachers Movement and other groups and individuals who sometimes risk their own safety to investigate, document and report cases of abuse of leaners.
Our learners’ safety is our concern, because we shall need them in full physical and mental health when schools reopen. As a teacher, you play a loco parentis role (legal responsibility as a parent) to them.
A quote by American writer Sonia Johnson reminds us that we have great power to change things: “We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.”
Head of Corporate Affairs