A Letter from Moses--Build a Classroom

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It is difficult to overstate the importance of education.  No matter who you are or where you’re from in the world, everyone wants the opportunity to improve their own circumstance in life.  However, which opportunities actually become available to us can often be determined by the quality of the education we receive as children.  

In Kenya, like a lot of places around the world, a lack of resources can make it very difficult to reliably (provide or) receive a high quality education.  In many schools there simply aren’t enough teachers.  At the primary school I attended (in my village of Sirembe) a lack of adequate classrooms consistently causes the student-to-teacher ratio to be way too high.  Today in Class 4 (what Americans call 4th grade) there are 123 students crammed into a classroom that was designed to accommodate only 45 students.  With one teacher per classroom this poses huge problems for both teachers' ability to teach and students’ ability to learn.  

A big part of what makes a good teacher effective is the ability to maintain discipline in his or her classroom.  This can be challenging with just 20 or 30 students.  With 100+ students it’s simply impossible.  Many students have difficulty maintaining focus on their teacher’s lessons and instruction and not all of them learn at the same pace or in the same way.  With this many students, the teacher’s classroom control is negligible and providing individual attention just isn’t a realistic option.  This is simply not a situation conducive to creating a solid foundation for anyone’s intellectual life.  However, it’s actually quite a bit worse than it sounds because in Kenya, Class 4 is when most subjects are taught exclusively in English (which is usually the students’ third language after his/her tribal language and Swahili).  Even incredibly intelligent kids can and sometimes do fall behind when they have 100+ (often) unruly classmates, and little to no individual attention from their teachers while being asked to read, write, think, and learn in their third language.  Unfortunately once some of these kids begin to fall behind it is all too common for them to eventually become so discouraged that they fail to see the value in school or the opportunities a quality education can provide them.  

There’s good news though.  Sirembe Primary, like most primary schools in Kenya, is full of kids who love school and want to learn as much as they can.  It has a hard working principal Mr. Anyango and it has all the teachers it needs.  What it does not have is enough classrooms, which is why I am going to start a fundraising campaign to help build a new one.  To construct one classroom in Kenya, fully furnished with furniture, teaching materials, and electricity costs around $7,500.   The deadline to meet our goal is November 1st, 2017. This will ensure enough time to get the new classroom built for the new school year starting in January 2018. 

 

How can you help? Click here to donate and put

"Moses Classroom" in the Notes section

I invite you to help alleviate the overcrowding at my former primary school by helping me pay for a new classroom that will give both teachers and students there a better chance to be the best they can be.  Any amount, big or small, really helps.  For further information please feel free to contact me at mvagare@uark.edu or 479-502-1164.

Yours Thankfully,

Moses Vincent Agare