Prague, May 4 (CTK) – The Island of Hope community centre in Kenya, operated by the Czech Narovinu Centrum NGO, newly includes a secondary school in addition to an elementary school and a kindergarten, where the teaching methods differ from those usual in Kenya, the project’s coordinator Dana Feminova said on Wednesday.
In Kenyan schools, an authoritarian approach, physical punishment and repression prevail among the teaching methods, Feminova, who heads Narovinu Centrum, told journalists.
The Island of Hope centre is situated on the Rusinga island in Lake Victoria, western Kenya.
Narovinu has built a boarding secondary school there as the first local children completed their elementary school studies, Feminova said.
The first secondary school class with 31 students was opened at the beginning of the year.
The construction of the premises and the personnel’s pay has been covered by the Slovak government from the development cooperation programme.
The Czech government could not support it because, unlike in Slovakia, Kenya is not on Prague’s list of priority countries in terms of development cooperation, Feminova said.
She said further secondary school classes will be opened with the local children reaching the relevant age. The school’s overall capacity is 120 students.
Teachers in the Narovinu-operated schools follow the Montessori method of teaching based on respect for children, education through experience and the absence of unhealthy competition.
Feminova said it is still difficult to win parents’ support for such style of teaching. Many parents withdraw their children from the school because it seems to them that the kids can learn nothing without physical punishment.
However, the results of state tests for elementary school leavers have shown that the modern methods have been a success.
“Our children have succeeded in the tests, which met with general surprise. They could advance to the best schools in Kenya,” Feminova said.
The Rusinga island has about 22,000 inhabitants, almost a half of whom are children under 15. It is a remote, very poor area where most people earn their living by farming and fishing.
Narovinu has been building the Island of Hope centre since 2005. Besides the schools, the centre includes an orphanage for children from three to 18, an educational centre with a library, a farm, a medical clinic and a workshop of talc processing.