Leadership and mentor training for head and deputy head teachers is one of the key elements of the Fursa kwa Watoto program in its mission to build the capacity of school leaders towards supporting quality pre-primary education. Through the training provided by Dubai Cares support, school administrators have changed their practices, perceptions and attitudes towards pre-primary education.
Mr. Jeremiah Wanzago (36 years old) is the head teacher of Kigongo Primary School (a Fursa Kwa Watoto roll out school) with 10 years working experience, including 1 year in a leadership position as head teacher. Just like many other head teachers, he has not received any leadership training or familiarisation with pre-primary since his appointment. Jeremiah said: “I was so happy to be appointed as a head teacher; but the position is associated with a lot of stress, especially when you don’t have any leadership background and you are expected to demonstrate quality leadership capacity. It was a headache. But I am glad that since Dubai Cares funded Fursa kwa Watoto leadership training, I have relaxed and I am working very confidently knowing what I am supposed to do as a leader.”
Previously, Mr Jeremiah rarely visited the pre-primary class; he focused more on class 1 upwards. This left the pre-primary class in the hands of older teachers who were about to retire from work. He explained “At that time pre-primary class was not my priority; thus, the class remained in a very poor condition. I didn’t give any support and didn’t even want to hear anything about the pre-primary class. I was very ignorant about this class. But currently this is one of the classes that I like the most, because the training has opened my eyes.”
Soon after the training, Jeremiah’s passion and focus was directed towards pre-primary class and its children. He wanted his pre-primary class to look different. His first step was to share the lessons learnt from Fursa kwa Watoto training with all teachers at school, parents and community members who in turn responded positively. His mobilization strategies focused upon renovating the classroom, providing a consistent feeding program, making play and teaching materials available and full participation of parents in pre-primary class.
To Jeremiah, Dubai Cares’ Fursa kwa Watoto program has guided and mentored him in his leadership position, as until now he has not attended any other leadership training that could have strengthened his leadership skills. “My fellow teachers and community members have built trust in my leadership ability. As far as I am concerned, I really appreciate Fursa kwa Watoto. I worked on applying all the methods discussed in the program, so I will always say ‘thank you’ to Dubai Cares and Fursa kwa Watoto’s trainers for mentorship.”