In its purest form, Character Education is the conscious and intentional nurturing of young children in essential character traits and life skills that develop in them self confidence, gravitas, well conceived perceptions, common sense and personal presence at the earliest possible age, thus enabling them to become responsible and successful adults capable of reaching their potential at home, in their communities and in the workplace.
In devising its unique programme, EACDT has drawn inspiration from the “Knowledge is Power Programme” (KIPP), established during the 1980s in the United States; EACDT has adopted its principle of identifying 7 core character traits that if nurtured, have proven to lead to successful, integrated and fulfilling lives. The value of tutoring Character Education is now becoming acknowledged worldwide: in the UK, the Government is committed to including it within the Secondary State School syllabus and in Kenya, where some 9 to 10 million families live in poverty, no secondary education is free and youth unemployment is running at 55%, Character Education helps provide a dual answer to the nation’s social challenges: It significantly enhances the range and scope of education and directly contributes to the alleviation of poverty.
The EACDT Character Education programme, sanctioned by the Ministry of Education and delivered by a team of 12 fully trained coaches, is working with 16 Nairobi schools under agreement; 4 are leading secondary schools, 12 are primary schools within the slums of the city, areas of indescribable poverty.
Results – in terms of education, attitude, behaviour and life skills have been spectacular and the value of our programme and its benefits are strongly acknowledged by the Head Teachers and staff of the 17 schools.
The EACDT Character Education programme focusses on developing the 7 character traits listed below in children, supporting them to understand and fully apply those behaviours, sometimes in highly stressful conditions:
ENTHUSIASM: PERSEVERANCE: SELF-CONTROL: OPTIMISM; GRATITUDE: SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE; CURIOSITY.
In the longer term and to ensure systemic change, acceptance and traction, it is hoped that Character Education will be adopted into the national curriculum. To do such, teachers must be trained to deliver it and the ethos of each and every individual school has to be structured around it.
The concept and application of Character Education by EACDT, having been in operation for two years through our pilot project, is now well advanced and discussions are in progress with a prominent Kenyan University, with outreach to 17 campuses around Kenya, which are intended to lead to a joint Teacher Training certificated programme in Character Education, for teachers in the public and private education sector, with the potential to expand EACDT’s Character Education network to provincial regions of the country.
The 2 year pilot project is now completed and an independent evaluation process, guided by Dr Tom Harrison, a leading Character Education specialist in the UK, has been commissioned and delivered (click here for further information). With the findings and recommendations offered by the report, EACDT’s challenge is to maintain its vital work, train existing and future teachers to deliver its programme, provide a permanent quality control mechanism at all schools it engages with and to expand its service to more schools and local communities.