Forssan yhteislyseo - Suomen vanhin maaseutulukio

The map of Kenya. The cooperation schools are situated in near the city of Eldoret.

The map of Kenya. The cooperation schools are situated in near the city of Eldoret.

ICT capacity strengthening in Kenyan schools to promote community development

1. Introduction

The Upper Secondary School of Forssa (Forssan yhteislyseo, later FYL) was established in 1899, thus being the oldest rural secondary school in Finland. FYL has now about 520 students, and they are 16 to 19 of age.

The Rotary District 1410 and two Rotarian clubs started with FYL the developing project with two Kenyan upper secondary schools in 2007. The project ended in 2010. Because the rotary clubs and Kenyan schools wanted to continue and extend co-operation, NGO Pro Kenia (Pro Kenia 2010, the home address of the society is FYL) was established in 2009 by key implementing persons of the background project. The Rotary District 1410, the raotarian clubs,FYL and NGO Pro Kenia started the new project in 2011.

2. The area

Anin secondary school is situated in Kerio Valley of Keiyo District in Rift Valley province of Kenya, about 350 km to the west of Nairobi. Anin represents typical rural village community in less developed rural areas of Western Kenya. Most of students to Anin school are coming from poor Kerio Valley area, where part of people still are living more in  nomadic way.  The background project was a catalyser to boost Anin to be connected to main power supply. Consequently, the whole village was connected to electricity in 2008. The process continues in nearby villages. Anin secondary school accommodates 380 students, equally boys and girls, nearly all of them staying in the school dormitories over the whole semester. The school has 12 teachers. The school was established 20 years ago and has developed her facilities rapidly since that showing good commitment of the community behind the school. The background project provided 30 computers for the school. The school is within wireless connection and internet connection.

Chepalskei secondary school is situated in Rift Valley province Warreng District (previously Uashin Gishu) ten kilometres from Eldoret centre, only two kilometres outside of city border close to Nakuru highway leading to Nairobi. Due to good road connections and vicinity of Eldoret Cheplaskei is reasonably well developed as rural location (naturally not at level of urban communities). Main concern in the area is unplanned growth of population and municipality is growing without constructing proper waste processing or water supply utilities. The unplanned nature of fast urban growth in peripheries of Eldoret has created severe constraints for urban planning, including limiting the provision of essential services in water, sanitation, access roads and education facilities. The engagement in ICT, therefore is aimed at increasing the contribution of participating schools in their physical planning efforts, and the partnership in provision of essential services, starting with water/sanitation as a pilot example on how planning could be enhanced.
Cheplaskei secondary school accommodates 200 boys, nearly all of them staying in the school dormitories over the whole semester. The school is situated 10 km from Eldoret City centre and just 2 km outside the city border making the school privileged to city services. The school has 15 teachers. School was established in 1987. The school has well established facilities for education including a classroom with 30 computers provided by the background project.

Anin and Cheplaskei schools as well as most other schools in the area provide all the basic school facilities, including salaries of teachers, supporting labour, school infrastructure like buildings and electricity. Only total of two temporary computer teachers will be hired by the project funds, and only the costs directly related to computers and getting connected to modern IT-contacts, will be covered by the project. Consequently, vast majority of the costs related to the background project have been covered by the local communities. Salaries of teachers are covered by Ministry of Education of Kenya, this represents 30 % of total costs of the schools. The remaining 70 % is covered by the community and school fees of the students. An average annual school fee per student is 20 000 KSh (appr. 200 € ).

District Education Office, the responsible governmental body to supervise and instruct education at District level, both in Keiyo and Warreng Districts has expressed strong support to the Project concept and is encouraging the Project to continue her activities.

Political situation in Kenya
National ICT Strategy for Education and Training in Kenya stipulates how ICT will be adopted and utilized to improve access, quality and equity in the delivery of education services in Kenya. The Strategy is based on the vision that: “ICT is a universal tool in education and training”. The mission statement that inspires it is: “to integrate ICT in education and training to improve access, learning and administration.” The overall objective of the plan is to ensure that systematic efforts are made towards strengthening adoption and use of ICT in the education sector with appropriate attention given to education development priorities.

The background complied perfectly with these goals and, consequently environment to implement is favorable. National program is at the moment only taking early steps to meet her goals, and mainly well resourced schools in cities have been able to join the program. Therefore the proposed Project is complementing National program as the aim of the Project is to concentrate in less resourced schools in rural areas.
The political situation in Kenya has been very unstable, and the corruption has been a big problem in Kenya. In 2007, the general elections took place in Kenya. In the “below international standard” elections, president Kibaki was re-elected. After the elections, the protest escalated into violence. Hundreds of thousands were forced off their land to relatives elsewhere in the country. For instance, two teachers of the Anin school had to leave the school. The future of the background project was unclear. In 2008, the conditions calmed when president Kibaki and Mr. Odinga signed an agreement on the formation of a coalition government.
In 2010, the new constitution passed in a referendum. It has been assumed to be very significant result for the peaceful future in Kenya. The next parliament elections will take place in 2012. It seems to be probable that our new project will be acceptable by both big political parties. Thus, our project seems to be successful in spite of the results of the next elections.

3. The background project in 2007-2010

The cooperation project “Enabling rural Western Kenyan schools to exploit information technology” (is called hereafter as the Background Project) were run by FYL and the two Rotarian clubs in 2007-2010. The funding for the project came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Rotarian clubs. The aim of the background project was to demonstrate a model to rural schools in Kenya to take full advantage of ICT and improve significantly opportunities of students in these schools, and make them better able to enter further education and make them to contribute to development of their communities.  The main results of the background project are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. The main results of the background project.
School facilities in the two co-operation schools (Anin and Cheplaksei) upgraded to be ready for IT communication.

1. IT-classrooms in both schools equipped with computers and internet connection
- computers and printers purchased and installed in September 2007
- installing internet connection

2. Teachers and students trained to use computers efficiently
- ICT teacher employed in September 2007 to give ICT teaching for students and teachers.
- teachers trained to use efficiently computers in teaching
- students trained to use efficiently computers in their studying and communication (Office, email, internet)
- use of IT adapted to educational curricula of the schools was started in 2008
- computer services were provided to the community and a fee for using were charged
- In Anin 2009 KCSE final exams were great success and 36 students out of 100 got grade C+ or better. In earlier years only few of students have passed level C+ as their general remark.

3. Joint projects aiming to develop Anin and Cheplaskei communities implemented
- sustainable development: game reserve development (Ecoturism) community development activity implemented in 2009.
- water and sanitation: a study was implemented in early 2010.

4. Inter cultural activities in international cooperation taken into educational curricula
- exchange of teachers and students between the two countries
o two teachers and four students from schools travelled to Finland in September 2008
-     In May 2009 three teachers and two students from Finland visited Anin and Cheplaskei.

In 2008, the Kenya project of FYL got the prize of the most positive action at schools in the province of Häme.

The evaluation of the project 2007-2010

4. The project in 2011-2014

Goal is to provide equal opportunities for education to children in rural less developed Kenya and make a shift to apply education for developing communities. This is done through providing an access to modern IT and e-communication with the partner school in Finland, hereby empowering students with skills enabling them better to integrate with the global system.

Anin and Cheplaskei secondary schools will be developed as model schools for other schools to encourage them to adopt applying ICT in education. Aim is to expand the concept to other schools and to have 75 participating schools.

Ecotourism is the major community development activity and intends to improve cultural awareness, create employment, generate income, and to promote different cultures to live in harmony. Water and Sanitation is another activity.

The budget of the project:    

  1. Self-financing of the Organisation 30 000e (Forssa and Sepänhaka Rotary Clubs, Support from Pro Kenia ry, Value of voluntary work by Forssa secondary school teachers)
  2. Project support application 169 000e
  3. Total costs 199 000

a)ICT concept development

- In Anin and Cheplaskei advanced ICT concept developed. Schools will be so developed that they can serve as modeled and trainers to other schools adopting the Project concept.
- In Anin and Cheplaskei intensive cooperation with FYL: justified by number of students and teachers effectively using: emails , other communication, contact keeping.
- Problem based learning established: this serves as base for community development projects
- Educational material produced in the sub-projects implemented
- In Anin and Cheplaskei advanced ICT concept developed. (2011)
o support to ICT teacher, one in each schools: 2011 full-time, 2012 half-time
o support to internet connectivity

- In Anin and Cheplaskei intensive cooperation with Forssa Secondary School: justified by number of students and teachers effectively using: emails , other communication, contact keeping.
o in 2011 one teacher an two students from Anin and Cheplaskei travel to Finland in the exchange program, total of 6 persons

- Problem based learning established: this serves as base for community development projects
o students made involved in community development projects, particularly Ecoturism, and Water and Sanitation.
o Finnish teachers support the concept through consultations

- Educational material produced in the sub-projects implemented (ecoturism, water and sanitation)
o sub-projects focused so that through them applicable results produced
o Anin and Cheplaskei students under guidance of their designated teacher will participate in community development projects and have materials from them for various subjects. With help of teachers in Finland (Simo Veistola, Kaija Parko, both experienced authors for text books) produced material will be put into form to support teaching more widely.

b) Expanding the ICT concept

- Kipsoen and St. Catherine secondary schools are the first schools where the concept developed in Anin and Cheplaskei is taken in to action. Verified by adaptation.
- Exchange activity of students and teachers through study visits and e-communication
- Computers distributed to new schools in Kenya and advice to them to be develop to state to be able to take ICT Project concept in their school activities. Number of schools joining the program.
- Selected schools taking ICT concept in their activities and getting involved in Project concept more thoroughly.

- In Kipsoen and St. Catherine secondary schools the concept developed in Anin and Cheplaskei taken in to action. (2011)
o support to ICT teacher, one in each schools: 2012 half-time, 2013 full-time
o support to internet connectivity

- Exchange activity of students and teachers through study visits and e-communication (2013)
o exchange of teachers and students, two visits of one teacher and two students per schools will be arranged
o Finnish teachers pay a visit to both schools

- Computers distributed to new schools in Kenya and advice to them to be develop to state  for taking ICT Project concept in their school activities (2011-2013)
o 240 computers will transfer to 15 new schools in late 2010.
o During 2011-2013 per year two shipments of 240 computers will be taken to fulfill needs of local schools, i.e. more 1400 computers is expected to be taken to more than 75 new schools.

- Selected schools taking ICT concept in their activities and involving in project (2013)
o the schools in target Districts will be subject to cooperation according to their interest and limited Project activities will taken to them, but only with restricted funding. Mainly these activities will be ICT training, consultancies in to better apply ICT in  education etc.

c) Community development

- Community development activities implemented
o Ecoturism
o Water and Sanitation


Financially Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (MoF) will analyse the Project Document and identify if the provisions of the Project Document are in line with the provisions of the policy of the Government of Finland. After MoF has satisfied herself to the policies and project resources, funding can be provided to the project, and MoF can transfer the allocated project fund to the account kept by officially responsible organisation Finnish Rotary District 1410, which will further transfer funds to specific project account in the name of Forssa Upper Secondary School (FYL) and the Principal of the school being delegated to have power to use the account. FYL will keep the accounts on behalf of the Rotary District 1410.  Once FYL has received the financial allocation it will make allocation of funds according to the approved Work Plan in to the project account in Kenyan bank. The Project will have one account for Anin School and one for Cheplaskei school the designated officials of Anin and Cheplaskei schools being responsible of the accounts. The access and use of project funds by Anin and Cheplaskei schools will be in accordance with Ministry of Education of Kenya (MinEdu). According to MinEdu all financial transactions by their affiliated institutions will be audited in the end of each financial year (end of June). Statement of accounts will be made available to the donor. In Finland accounts are kept by the designated teacher in Forssa school, or can be outsourced to a professional office.

In Kenya Anin and Cheplaskei secondary schools are the responsible bodies. They will transfer and be accountable of transferred funds to Kipsoen and St. Catherine secondary schools as well as RCDO. Anin and Cheplaskei schools have well established managing and accounting system developed during the Background Project.

Actual implementation and follow-up of educational programmes are taken care by Forssa School, designating responsible teacher for this. Overall monitoring is done the Project Coordinator (PC) and the Principal of FYL. This includes visits of PC in target schools upon initiating the project and thereafter at one year intervals to validate progress. The Principal or a nominated responsible teacher of FYL will visit the target school upon initiation of the project and later in the middle of the project to evaluate and discuss of the project.

External evaluation is planned to be carried out as mid-term term evaluation by a Kenyan evaluation expert. This is regarded necessary, because the project is planned to be a pilot project to introduce as a model of applying ICT to Kenyan education system. External evaluation by a Kenyan expert is repeated in the end of project to validate feasibility of the model and to give further advice on its applicability in transferring the model to other rural Kenyan secondary schools.

Anin and Cheplaskei schools in financial management follow the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education of Kenya. This include single sourcing of goods and services if the value of procurement is below specified value (currently 5000 KSh). Use of quotations, often 3 to 5, if the value of procurement is below specified value (currently 5000 KSh). Open tendering of procurement is applied above specific value. In quotations and opening the tenders the transparent arrangements provided for the procedures include the presence of the bidder and at least 2 members of management of the school. The procedure is chaired by the headmaster of the school.

Finally, all accounts of Anin and Cheplaskei schools are audited by the official auditors of local District Education Office according to standards procedures present in the local system.

Forssa school mutually agree with Anin, Cheplaskei, St. Catherine and Kipsoen schools of the indicators to be followed upon initiation of the project and baseline study is conducted, and it is jointly agreed on the adaptation of the indicators whenever need arises.

Baseline study is conducted on relevant critical indicators e.g.:
- number of teachers and students using computers, internet, email
- joint projects implemented
- computer services offered to the society
- change of school remarks of students as an overall indicator of motivation

In addition to these schools receiving computers through the Project, but not joining the intensive activities of the project will be monitored at more superficial level.

In the end of each project year an assessment to identify the changes in these critical indicators is conducted.

Water/sanitation and physical planning (starting from Cheplaskei vicinity) :

- Number of households accessing water/sanitation facilities;
- Number of households supported to have well planned services: access roads,and basic education facilities.

The article is partly based on Simo VEistola's MBA assignment in 2011.

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