Mentoring helps students at Moi Education Center

Parents and teachers celebrate with Michelle Chepkirui who scored 420 points at the Moi Educational Center. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The teaching profession is usually viewed from an authoritarian perspective, with the teacher serving as an all-knowing deity who cannot be questioned.

But for the chief director of the Moi Educational Center, Christopher Opuodho, teaching is more than simply having authority over students and imparting knowledge to them.

He describes it as “being a surrogate parent” for the students where, in addition to fulfilling the required professional obligations, the teacher also supports the well-being of the students.

“As teachers, we don’t just go to class to teach. Here we take care of the mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being of the students,” Opuodho said.

This approach, which Opuodho conceptualized a year into his tenure, is what has seen the school achieve impressive results in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam.

Of the 216 candidates who took the exams, 74 scored 400 points and above. Top students, Hunja Chege and Michelle Chepkurui scored 420.

They were followed by Joan Maitha with 419 and Sonia Cheptoo Murei with 417. The others were Aaron Kiptoo Korir, Ruby Mwago, Dan Lempiris Leisen and Nicole Mutonyi Kituyi with 416 points.

Overall, 80 students scored between 375 and 399 points while 62 students scored between 300 and 374. The lowest mark was 271.

The school scored an average average of 383.47 points. The scores are an improvement from last year when the school had an average score of 371.

According to Opuodho, the approach is an individualized mentoring program that involves providing emotional, psychosocial and financial support to students, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds.

“We identify children who are going through difficult family situations and try to nurture them by raising their self-esteem and meeting their financial needs,” Opuodho said. “The child is clothed in love and compassion and this allows them to give their best.”

Each teacher is assigned five students to whom he sets goals. Teachers then review student performance after each assessment and guide students in areas where they need to improve.

One of the main strategies employed by the program is to focus less on students’ exemplary performance in exams and instead focus on their ability to understand concepts.

This strategy, says Opuodho, enables students to be competent learners even at advanced stages of education. “We don’t pressure students to only pass their exams, rather we focus on teaching them concepts so they can thrive in learning afterwards,” he said. .

The headteacher intends to continue using the promising curriculum to prepare for future exams and to adapt it to the current competency-based curriculum.

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