The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (K.I.C.D) is the national curriculum and research Centre, whose core functions include developing research based quality and Curriculum support materials. Orientation of teachers and other curriculum implementers is one of the core functions of the Institute. Traditional face to face teacher orientation was found to be very expensive since the officers are required to physically move to the training venues. It is also very slow given the number of teachers in the country. With the advantage of the information and communication technology (ICT) and the accompanying global willingness to embrace it, the Institute initiated a customized Learning Management System (LMS) the ELIMIKA LMS in 2009 and implemented online teacher orientation on curriculum winning continental award in 2011.
The Elimika Teachers’ Orientation course for primary level has been developed in a modular approach with each module covering a subject area to effectively teach that subject. The modules are updated if and when changes are experiences in the curriculum or in the delivery method. This ensures that the course is up-to-date and appropriate for the teaching profession. This course comprises eight module namely; Mathematics, English, Science, Creative arts, Swahili, Life skills, Social studies and Teacher professional development. The course is interactive and uses web 2.0 in its delivery. In addition the course also has assignments, project and final online test for qualification for certification. The program undergoes continuous reviews to remain relevant in the ever changing technological world. Certification on completion of the course is in the following areas:
- Subject Mastery
- Pedagogical Skills
- Assessment Techniques
- Management of teachers professional documents
- Online learning methods and technologies
- Virtual Collaborations
- Virtual communication technology tools
The benefits of the course are as follows;
- Those who have graduated from the course have taken in lead as trainers in the ICT integration in Education for the laptop project while others have progressed to acquire higher qualifications from other institutions.
- The country has greatly benefited in that it has saved a lot of resources both financially (travelling and accommodation costs, license cost) and man hours (personnel needed for the training).
- Flexibility in learning as the participants study during their own free time and from anywhere.
- The interactive sessions such as chats and discussions address challenging areas as well as post discussions on the system in various areas. The challenges are instantly addressed.
- Complete attitude transformation from resistance to adopt ICT integration to advocacy for the same among the teaching fraternity
- Online tutoring creates a virtual environment where the curriculum personnel at the Institute interact with the teachers and education officers in the field enabling exchange of information where issues are discussed.
- The system allows for effective monitoring of the programmes as well as the curriculum.
- Tests and examinations are also administered through the system hence evaluating the users’ acquisition of the required competencies.
- Improved communication between the implementers and the managers of education as well as the developers
- Ownership of the curriculum since all participate in its implementation thus minimizing blame games
- Participants who have gone through the program have earned themselves promotions at work and even new jobs. Others have been called upon as trainers especially now that the government is preparing for the laptop project.
The Institute is in the process of packaging the Teacher capacity building course launched in December 2015 for online delivery. This will enable those teachers who will not have been targeted for the face to face training to self train themselves in preparation for the country wide roll out of the Digital Literacy program.
The program has so far graduated about 200 teachers having certified the programs requirements. The 1st cohort of teachers drawn from across the country started the course in June 2011 and completed the 6 months course in January 2012 and graduated the same year. The course was reviewed which saw the two next groups go through an 8 months course. The second group started May 2013 to January 2014 while the third cohort began the course in May 2015 and will complete the course in February 2016. This group is scheduled to graduate in March 2016.
The Institute is planning a graduation ceremony for cohorts 2 and 3, approximately 80 primary school teachers for all parts of Kenya. This is to request the Cabinet Secretary to grace the occasion in March 2016 at the CS’s date of convenience.