Outstanding Schools Awarded for Promoting Holistic Learning in Kenya

Maureen Kemunto
April 25, 2024
Three women smiling at the 'Outstanding Schools Award' event, standing before a branded backdrop, dressed in smart casual outfits.

Attendees of the 4th Edition Great Places to School awards gala.

The 4th Edition of Great Places To School Awards Gala Dinner organized by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya and the Standard Media Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Kenya Private Schools Association, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Opinion Track Ltd, UNICAF Kenya and Sunrise Virtual School was hosted at the Panari Hotel in Nairobi on March 22, 2024. The initiative recognizes, rates, and awards Primary and High Schools whose innovative learning environment and the overall school culture contribute to the development of a total child.

Global Peace Foundation’s ongoing transforming education initiatives advocate that personal transformation is at the heart of educational transformation. Particularly in the Global South, historical educational roots, established by missionaries and religious entities, focused on moral and values-driven education. They aimed to cultivate individuals into responsible citizens, deeply connected with their communities and countries. This approach fostered not only academic learning, but especially holistic development encompassing spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

Three panelists sitting on stage during a conference presentation, with banners promoting Holistic Learning in the background.

Panel discusses Holistic Learning in Schools.

The Great Places to School event saw 46 schools feted in 11 competencies as finalists, out of 392 entries received. The ceremony brought together key education stakeholders to deliberate on emerging education acquisition demands and how government and other stakeholders in the sector can collaborate to achieve holistic learning in both primary and high schools across the country.

The theme for the 4th Edition was; “Creating Great Schools Through Character and Holistic Development,” and was deliberated on by Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo, Former Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Kenya; Ms. Martha Odundo, Director of Education at the Ministry of Education; and Mr. Hesbon Otieno, Deputy Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, who jointly tackled various issues affecting provision of holistic education in Kenya, how to promote peaceful learning institutions and embrace positive character development and drew recommendations that can be put in place to solve them.

People clapping and smiling at a formal event inside a room with decorative banners celebrating holistic learning in the background.

Audience at the 4th Edition Great Places to School awards gala.

The Chief Guest, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, in his keynote speech (delivered by Dr. Salome Maina, Director, Ministry of Education) lauded the Great Places to School Initiative for being instrumental in supporting quality education since its inception.

“I would like to commend this initiative as a public-private sector effort to recognize and enhance the quality of education in Kenya,” said Hon. Machogu. He said the Ministry of Education, through the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards, is ready to fully partner with key stakeholders in education to actualize such noble initiatives. “Efforts such as the Great Places to School are innovative ways to encourage our schools to willingly comply with such standards,” added the Cabinet Secretary.

Four people in formal attire smiling and holding a certificate at an outstanding school award ceremony with banners in the background.

Representatives accept awards at the Great Places to School awards gala in Kenya.

Hon. Machogu also promised to continue working with stakeholders such as the Global Peace Foundation, to realize a fully transformed education that not only gives equal opportunity to all learners but also foster character and moral innovative school cultures in our learning institutions across all levels.

The same sentiments were echoed by Mr. Charles Kimathi, Director of Corporate Affairs and Partnerships at the Standard Media Group, who stressed the need to support a collaborative approach to education by all. He elaborated that transformation of a country can only happen through transformation of its key institutions such as schools.

“Kenya has great schools, and Great Places to School’s main aim is to appreciate and award the best holistic institutions in Kenya… It has been a fulfilling journey for Standard Media Group and GPF-Kenya, and we are prepared to do more,” he added.

Representatives accept awards at the Great Places to School awards gala in Kenya.

Eng. Ben Kairu, Chief Executive Officer at Sunrise Virtual School, joined the conversation to explain how technology and digital skills are progressively taking over the learning environment and ways of gaining knowledge. He subsequently called upon the participants to utilize the rapidly growing technological skills to better their schools for the 21st century demands.

“Technology makes education more accessible and affordable and that is the dream of Sunrise Virtual School,” said Eng. Kairu.

GPF Kenya Country Director Mr. Daniel Juma Omondi applauded the schools, which have shown willingness and consistency in participating in the initiative. GPF Kenya acknowledges that there is an urgent need to foster a values-based, holistic approach to education. By focusing on the holistic development of educators, leaders, and students, we can refocus education to prioritize character development, relationship-building, skills, and practical knowledge application.

Learn more about our initiative to Transform Education in the Global South.

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