Naboth Okadie on Education in Mount Elgon
My name is Naboth Okadie, Head teacher Bishop Okiring Secondary School in Kenya.
I attended Kaptama Primary School in Mt. Elgon and then Friends School Kamusinga in Bungoma.
Getting education was areal challenge. I used to walk for twenty five kilometers to and from my primary school daily. I walked bare foot since my parents could not afford shoes. I used to wake up at 4:00am to be in school at 6:30am. Learning resources like books and pens were limited. The classes were congested with over 70 pupils per each. I never used to take breakfast and lunch due to distance to be covered. Corporal punishment was administered by teachers to errant students.
I decided to become a teacher because I wanted to help the young & youth to identify, work and realize their dreams. As a head teacher, I thought I could lead from the front as my students and teachers follow. Teaching gives me an opportunity to interact with students from diverse cultures and backgrounds, something I really cherish.
I trained in Kenyatta University in Nairobi where I graduate with a Bachelor of Education degree in History and Kiswahili.
Apart from teaching I also work very closely with my community to uplift the lives of others. I am the chairman of “ Achausu Joint Self Help Group”. This group endeavors to promote girl education, reduce HIV spread, promote environmental conservation through afforestation and food production through planting of modern varieties of bananas. I have also worked as apart time consultant for KEFEADO- an NGO that was focusing on girl- child education.
I became a head teacher last year in January, Bishop Okiring being my first station. I enjoy my work because I get to lead the young and the old. My happiest moment is when students achieve their goals.
I encounter many challenges in school especially shortage of infrastructure, teaching resources, funds, staff and lack of school bus to transport students.
Girl students in my school are affected by many issues that hamper their education.
a) Early pregnancies
b) Early marriages
c) Female Genital mutilation ( Girl circumcision)
d) HIV scourge which has affected both students & parents.
e) Orphan hood due to HIV and conflicts between clans
f) Over burdening by domestic chores
g) Negative cultural perception/stereotypes-parents prefer educating boys to girls.
h) Girl-Day scholars face the risk of harassment & rape when they travel early to school & late backhome.
I motivate girls to stay in school by encouraging them to board in school. I pay fees for those who cannot afford. Last year I paid for four students, I provide guidance and counseling to students while emphasizing on the value of Education. I have been inviting female role models like Linet Masai to talk to girls. I have been exposing girls to educational tours like the one Eghla went for at Bedford. The tour has challenged her to work hard & aim at achieving more.
At school level I also encourage girls to exploit their talents and once they do well I reward them. In all I have personal contact with each student, so they learn to be open and share with me freely.
Motivating girls to stay in school is important because it is the surest way of removing social inequalities based on gender. It also gives the girl student an opportunity to maximize her potential both in and outside class.
Funding students to stay in school is a big challenge. Most parents are very poor. I have been sacrificing part of my little salary to pay for needy but promising students. I have requested the Anglican Church (sponsor) to support whenever it can. I am encouraging parents to struggle and get food for the students to feed on. Any support accorded to my school towards supporting such needy cases will be appreciated.
Thank you and Best wishes
Naboth Okadie- Head teacher
Bishop Okiring Sec School
Naboth Okadie is Head teacher at Bishop Okiring School in Kenya.
Bishop Okiring is part of the Olympic Dreams Schools Network run by World Class; a British Council and BBC schools linking project.