Character Competency Training Promotes National Unity in Kenya

Eric Olsen
September 7, 2012

National school teachers at the two day character training workshop for educators.

Driven by the desire to raise young people who are intellectually vibrant, emotionally strong and socially responsible, Kenya’s Ministry of Education in partnership with the Global Peace Festival Foundation-Kenya, Character Competencies Council, the National School Principals Forum and other stakeholders held a two-day character training workshop for National School teachers. The training brought together teachers from 17 National Schools across the country, and focused on cultivating integrity and creativity among youth to support them for success in higher education, career pursuits, and other life endeavors.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Sammy Kagiri, Deputy Director of Secondary and Tertiary Education of the Ministry of Education, said that the Character Competencies Initiative Program that started in the year 2010 “has already impacted discipline and academic achievement of pilot schools in an incredible way.”

Mr. Stephen Njoroge, Chief Principal of Moi Forces Academy and Chairman of National School Principals Forum, added that “education without character is useless. …We are encouraging our boys that they should serve the community for at least 40 hours during their four years in high school.”

Mr. Sammy Kagiri, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education

Mrs. Julia Naipasoi, a teacher and Character Competency coordinator at Our Lady of Fatima Secondary School, shared a case study on the impact of Character Competency at their school. She said that “the Power of One Shilling [donation campaign] has enabled our students to develop a caring attitude in meeting the needs of the underprivileged students.”

Noting the role of teachers in promoting values transcending tribal or ethnic identity, Dr. Musyoki Nzilu, Director Marketing of Brand Kenya Board, urged the teachers to encourage students to inculcate national values at home, work, school and in public life. Mr. David Kariuki, Chief Principal of Alliance High School, also emphasized that “men of genius are admired; rich men are envied; powerful men are feared; but only men and women of character are respected.”

The program sought to empower teachers to train other teachers from their schools as well as from the remaining 31 National Schools. Towards the end of the workshop, an inspired teacher stated that, “I will encourage students to be courteous not only to the teachers but also to the support staff and to their fellow students.  I will personally use the magic words like excuse me, thank you, sorry, and please as a role model.”

“I have learnt that role modeling is a powerful tool in changing other people character. I will therefore strive to be a good role model who can be emulated by my students, children and other people in general.”  —Teacher training participant

The seminar concluded with remarks from Mr. Geoffrey Cherongis, County Director, Nairobi, from the Teachers Service Commission, who called for the scaling up the  Character Competency programme in all counties in Kenya. He urged the teachers to inculcate the seven pillars of moral character—spiritual values, purity, integrity, responsibility, charity, courage and humility—to enhance transformation of the students’ character and creativity.

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