Enabling Enterprise reaches a new audience as Marlal Primary School, a small school in a remote Masaii community, becomes the first school in Kenya to participate in a challenge day and teacher training. Charlie Ellis, a former member of the EE team reports about her experiences leading the activities.

GLOBAL ISSUES

After nearly 4 years working with Enabling Enterprise, I took up my current role with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in April as a team leader for a group of young volunteers from the UK and Kenya as part of International Citizen Service (ICS). Over the last 3 months, I’ve supported volunteers in leading various Livelihood projects, including facilitating ‘life skills’ peer education in schools, organisation debating competitions to improve oracy and ‘Youth Employability and Empowerment’ community events. During that time, it became increasingly clear that many of the challenges facing young people in the UK are shared by youths across the world –unemployment, low aspirations, a lack of adequate careers guidance, the recurrent ‘skills gap’, and school life so focused on exams that it ignores the skill development essential to prepare them for the working world.

A NEW AUDIENCE

Facing these challenges, and given the opportunity to initiate a small ‘livelihoods’ project of my own choosing, I saw an opportunity to bring what I’d learnt about the effectiveness of enterprise education in the UK to a new audience. And with the Kenyan government about to introduce a new curriculum next year, including an increased emphasis on the practical application of learning, the schools I contacted were keen to find out more – and Marlal Primary School were particularly eager to get involved.

SHARED GOALS

Led by 11 enthusiastic and committed teachers, I was first struck by the similarities between their School Vision and Mission: to create “a whole person who is disciplined, innovative and self-reliant” and to “equip our learners with knowledge and skills that will make them responsible and successful citizens”; and that of Enabling Enterprise’s ethos “to equip young people with the skills, experiences and aspirations they need to succeed in life” and also overlaps with many others UK schools I have worked with over the last few years. And whilst there may be differences in how we think it best to reach the end goal, it really confirmed for me that teachers all over the world all want the same thing – for their students to leave school ready for a successful, happy future.

TEACHER TRAINING

Starting with a teacher training for all their staff, it was interesting to hear their views and discussions and explore the similarities and differences to sessions I’ve run previously. There was a lot of similar debates around the relative importance of leadership or creativity, often the two skills with the greatest divergence in views. Whilst discussion around the explicit teaching of skills also echoed past conversations – whereby many teachers believed they were already teaching the skills – until you dug deeper to find that although there may be the use of the skills, e.g. teamwork, there was little explicit teaching of the teamwork skill itself.

The Challenge Day

The training was then followed by a challenge day to give students from the top two classes in the school the experience of Enabling Enterprise – before becoming champions and sharing this with pupils lower down the school. The Greetings Card Challenge which explores the themes of entrepreneurship and business, seemed like an appropriate and practical choice. Pupils from the school will most likely be self-employed farmers or will start and run their own businesses – both of which shall benefit from enterprise education.

At first, pupils had to adjust to a very different style of teaching. Initially they struggled with the more creative elements of the activities; but after encouragement, modelling and positive reinforcement of anything creative, they started to realise that new and different was good. Applying this to the card design, it was really rewarding to see notable improvement in their working in a team and creativity over the course of the production stage – with greater involvement of all team members and more interesting card designs being produced.

WHAT THEY SAID

  • “The teacher training was good – it introduced some simple concepts, such as how to integrate enterprise education and project based learning to enhance learners to acquire important skills. I could use the idea of project-based learning to teach maths next week by setting up a shop in class.” – Mr Gregory, Deputy Head Teacher
  • “Today I learnt more about how to work in a group – it help when I took on a leadership role and increased interaction in the team.” – Mutunkei, Student, Class 8
  • “The challenge day had been good for the pupils to interact with someone new. It’s been good to see elements of different students coming out – such as seeing leadership skills emerging in some individuals. They were really engaged from morning until afternoon, and very keenly. In particular, they learnt about effective communication, not just communicating, but how to do it effectively to improve co-operation.” – Mr Eddy, Head Teacher

THANK YOU

A big thank you to the teachers and pupils of Marlal Primary School for their involvement and enthusiasm in being the first school in Kenya to pilot Enabling Enterprise – and we hope to see more schools across the world joining us soon.

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