Last week I attended an ACE educator’s convention in Nairobi. It is always fascinating to me that when we talk of educators we think of teachers, much as that is a very narrow understanding of the word. The theme of the convention revolved around “a new vision for growth in student numbers and raised standards in education”. After considering a review of education systems across USA, Finland and our very own national system … It seems to me that it matters less what is taught than how it is taught. It seems to me that the subject matter is not as important as the person teaching it. It seems to me we should be paying more attention to who is teaching our kids than what they are learning. I love to read history today, but back in 8th and 9th grade, history was a nightmare. My favorite subjects, in which I excelled, were taught by my favorite teachers! A teacher without a heart for education, delays, negates and discourages the expression of gifts, abilities, interests and talents in a child. The opposite, a teacher with a heart, despite their “educational” qualifications nurtures and guides them to investigate, develop and exploit their natural abilities and realize their full potential. That is what parents do. Children simply follow the lead… I believe that national transformation will not come from increased enrollment in schools, expansion of classroom facilities or adjustment of curricula and education systems, but by the quality of those we call educators in our society. The transformation of a society has taken but one Thomas Edison, one Abraham Lincoln, one Billy Graham, one William Wilberforce, one Mother Teresa, one Mahatma Ghandi and one Nelson Mandela. The transformation of a nation is not in the numbers receiving an education, but in the creation of the ideal. That can only be achieved one child at a time.
Allan Bukusi, March 2018