High schools implementing the Global Peace Foundation’s Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) demonstrated significant improvements in academic and other measures according to a Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis report, sending a wave of optimism and hope for surrounding schools. On March 3, 2014 Kenya’s Ministry of Education released results of a nation-wide standardized test of fourth-year students, finding that four Character and Creativity Initiative schools ranked among the top 10 in the nation.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of students take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam to determine if they will place in a university. The remaining six CCI schools also ranked highly, with mean grades of B and above.
The Character and Creativity Initiative nurtures integrity and creativity in high school youth and prepares them for twenty-first century employment. The initiative is currently in Nigeria, Uganda, Paraguay, Brazil, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines and Nairobi and Kiambu Counties in Kenya. Since its inception in Kenya in 2010, it has proven results in improving academic and social performance, as shown in the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) report.
Prior to the implementation of CCI in Kenya, many schools reported serious underachievement and disciplinary problems, creating negative school climate. Students struggled with low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, ethnic prejudice, negative attitudes towards education, absenteeism and other issues. Since the Initiative began, participating schools have seen enhanced self-confidence, reduced disciplinary issues, improved academic achievement and improved total school culture. CCI was also found to improve teachers’ practices, such as providing more support and ensuring high engagement with students.
“Culture Drives Excellence! The change of institutional culture of under-achievement and indiscipline in our institutions of learning is crucial in creating transformative culture of ethics and excellence.”
Other CCI schools that had an excellent performance include Mang’u High School with a B+ and Upper Hill School, Buruburu Girls Secondary School and Moi Forces Academy with B’s. Also, the CCI starter school Precious Blood Riruta ranked as the top girls school in the country and Lenana School with a B+.
“I am pleased with the work of Character and Creativity Initiative for their collaboration to increase collective impact in changing school culture for greater results. Said Prof. Jacob T. Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. “Culture drives excellence! The change of institutional culture of under-achievement and indiscipline in our institutions of learning is crucial in creating a transformative culture of ethics and excellence,” he continued.
Through CCI, each school develops unique programs that target specific issues they are facing. Some of the ongoing programs in these schools include A Book for Change (ABC) Club where fourth year students at Kenya High School give their text books to students in need instead of discarding them after the final exam and also mentor students. Moi Forces Academy’s 1% for Change and Peace has helped encourage students to donate 1% of their time, skills and resources to giving back to the community. As a result of these programs, students are able to translate values learned into positive actions.
The Character and Creativity Initiative continues to have school outreach forums as well as capacity development for CCI school coordinators to learn and share best practices on improving school culture. Students have been greatly impacted by the Initiative as it brightens their outlook on school and their future placement in a university.