24th September 2019
It is my pleasure to welcome everyone here at MIUC for a great academic year 2019-2020. It is also a great pleasure to start this communication by a brief self-introduction as I may not have interacted with each one of you.
My names: Br. Albert NZABONALIBA (PhD), a Marist Brother since 1986. I was appointed MIUC Principal on 5th August 2019 by the Board of Trustees (BoT) for a period of four years. I have been at MIUC since 2001 and have been acting in different capacities: Lecturer, Formator, Chairman of the Board of Governors and Superior of MIC. By training and profession, I am an educationist (2010) and a spiritual director (2011).
As your new MIUC Principal, having in mind that at MIUC we are committing ourselves to provide the best education and preparing our students for a global society, I wish to comment on two important calls and conclude with some requests.
1. First Call to read the Vision-Mission of MIUC
The core business of MIUC is to produce graduates who are agents of/for change, Transformation & Innovation by offering Quality Education, Skills Training and Research Skills for Sustainable Development (ESDs and GCEds). MIUC is to a certain extent aligning itself with the Constitution of Kenya (2010) and with the Kenyan Vision 2030.
MIUC unlike other Institutions of Higher Learning in Kenya are called to see that the new CBC is applied so as “to enable every Kenyan to become an engaged, empowered, and ethical citizen. This will be achieved by providing every Kenyan learner with world-class standards in the skills and knowledge that they deserve, and which they need in order to thrive in the 21st century. This shall be accomplished through the provision of excellent teaching, school environments, and resources … pedagogical tools … (Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development [KICD], 2017, p.10)”
2. Second Call to review our MIUC Academic & Professional Programmes:
Because of the above first call, it is my wish that we look at some relevant aspects of our programmes and point out to the specifics:
2.1. Quality Education: MIUC standards!
We normally call it “holistic education” that intends imparting knowledge (Subject Content Competencies). But it is today referred as ensuring a conceptual understanding and application of that theoretical learning. A learner, rather an “active infobits or information Constructor (Robert J. Stahl, 1983, 1992, 1995),”1 is believed to store more meaningful Concepts (Key Takeaways or Core Concepts) than Texts. By metacognitive processes, he / she uses them, revises them and, henceforth, augments his / her information bases and abilities. This is easily done in a new Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), a kind of Devolution of the Teaching (a-didactical situations according to Guy Brousseau (2002) in Theory of Didactical Situations in Mathematics). Therefore, for our Experiential Learning Activities, we wish to use more of the Socio-Cultural Theories of Lev Vygotsky (1981, 2001) and followers like Luria & Leont’ev (1981).
2.2. Personal Skills and Social Skills Training:
Kenya today is implementing the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) which aims at the acquisition of a variety of practical, job-related skills and work habits. A Combination of a Concepts-Based Approach and Skills-Based Approach is believed to develop the profile of a graduate that Kenyan society needs. The 21st century has identified what is called “Cross-disciplinary Skills or Transversal Competencies” that any educational setting should encourage and facilitate in their acquisition.
We need, therefore, to identify some Learning Areas that are crucial for our “active infobits or information Constructors.” In Curriculum Development, these Learning Areas are called “Unit’s Organizing Centres.” The latter is like overarching Focus or Topics or Themes from which Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) can be identified together with Unit’s Essential Questions for reflection and Unit’s Acquisition – Skills & Competencies (Key Skills, Strategies, and Processes). In doing so, we shall be applying the ESDs and GCEds as recommended these days by the Commission of University Education (CUE).
2.3. Character Education or Character Development Programmes:
The first two points would be useless if we do not intend to forge a character that is equipped with the ABCs of life: Attitudes, Behaviors & Characters Development. Values-based education can be correlated with a number of areas like Character education & Social Emotional Learning; Character Development & Leadership; Character education & Critical Thinking, etc. MIUC wants to inculcate our Core Values and to form graduates that have a sound spiritual, moral and social integrity through: Love of God and Neighbour and Respect for Human life; Self-discipline, Concern for the poor, Generosity and Love for work; … All our Course Units are intended to point out to the related ABCs and to inculcate them, most preferably by Mentoring and Coaching knowing well what Pope Paul VI said: “The world listens more to witnesses than to mere preachers.”
2.4. Contextualized or Contextual Learning or Situational Learning:
It is not business as usual. It is no more “tabula rasa” or blank slate of John Locke’s philosophy of education in the 16th century as we may have gone through it ourselves. It is today Learner- focused. We should change the current status: “80% of us are educating for the past, 10% are for today, and only a few of us are looking for tomorrow. In looking for tomorrow, you need to be creative, to use imagination, take risk, …” To remember that the “Mwalimu” is only an “infobits or infoschemata Facilitator or Coach or a Mentor (cf. Kenyan CBC)” in the whole process of Learning and Teaching. He/she needs to adjust to the new trends in Education like giving enough space to Formative assessment which is the in-process learner’s self-evaluations of their own academic progress. That is why MIUC still emphasizes on Individualized Projects, also called ILO (Individualized Learning Opportunity, i.e. Portfolios & e-Portfolios) and / or on Group Projects wherever it may apply.
1 Robert J. Stahl (1995). Cognitive Psychology and Constructivism: Concepts, Principles, and Implications within the Social Science Disciplines and Applications for Social Studies Education. In view of the above-referred points, and wishing to be more intentional in our Teaching Profession, I wish to request the following and make a passionate appeal:
1. To prepare a Course Outline (s) of the Teaching Unit (s) you are teaching that provides:
- Key concepts / Core concepts / Key Takeaways of the Unit (s) for deep knowledge & understanding!
- Context (s) whereby they may apply.
2. To identify the Personal and Social skills of the Unit (s) you are teaching and teach them:
- Personal Life skills and Social skills identification (cf. ESDs & GCEds)
- Context (s) in which they can be applied.
3. To point out specific values-based strategies, behaviors & attitudes needed for personal growth and teach them:
- ABCs of life (real life): Attitudes, Behaviors and Characters needed in our society today
- People who have managed / are managing and lived / are living the ABCs to a higher degree!
This exercise is meant to develop a new MIUC Curriculum that serves better the needs of Kenyan society today. The current one is outdated (2009 – 2010) and we all know that, like any other country, we are living in a complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society (cf. The Glossary of Education Reform in: https://www.edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/). Kenya needs creative minds (reflective learners and creative thinkers). Kenya needs entrepreneurs and innovators for its economic growth and stability. Kenya needs responsible and effective citizenship that is lawful and ethical (GCEds).
Please, ensure that you send a copy of your Course (s) Outlines (soft copy) to the HoDs by 15th October 2019 (deadline) and let me thank you in advance for your collaboration & involvement. These last values are extremely important for me and I am incredibly excited to become a part of the new MIUC Academic Handbook developers. I cannot do this work without you. Your support will indeed make a huge difference. Thank you once more for your commitment in helping make MIUC an amazing place for “active infobits or information Constructors” to grow and learn!
I look forward to meeting all of you and, please, do not hesitate to contact me for any questions, concerns, or ideas you would like to share.
Br. Dr. Albert NZABONALIBA (fms) MIUC Principal
Tel (WhatsApp): +254 720 947 037