WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE SCHOOL'S CURRICULUM?
The URDTGS has designed a co-curriculum programme that enhances the students' transformational leadership skills, life skills, technical skills and entrepreneurial skills. The students engage in agricultural practices, preventive health care, debates, essay writing, sports, clubs, music, dance & drama, science exhibitions, arts& crafts, feature days, amongst others.
Every term an inquiry based learning project is carried out with the aim of helping the learners to think beyond specific topics (as is so common in rural schools) by relating what they have learned to their own world. Hence become better life managers and systems thinkers. Therefore, the teaching is done around a relevant and inspiring central question, which is broken down in supporting questions and topics to ease the analysis and search for answers to the central question. We use group work, attractive reference materials and audiovisual materials to enhance the learning process.
Students get training in entrepreneurship and artisanship. They learn to make furniture from rattan cane, house hold items from local materials and decorations for use at home and for sales. We also educate them on processing agricultural products and cash crop growing and as such link their learning and skills to the world of work and ways to earn an income. However, we promote practical learning for development as opposed to child labour.
Through the URDT Institute we also provide for vocational training to disadvantaged youth who drop out at S4 level. They learn entrepreneurial and vocational subjects like carpentry, tailoring, building and construction, handicrafts, metal work and mechanics. The students also get their share in business management, accounting, artisanship training and appropriate technologies.
GENDER, TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT
Related to the income generating activities and the vocational training, are our activities to demystify technology, as traditionally it is a domain for men. Our experience is that women are the biggest source of labour in the rural areas, however often they are excluded in equipping them in skills for design and use of technologies. The backbreaking practices based on human muscles have continued, hence low productivity and poor health at house hold level.
Already the learners in the URDT Girls' School have been introduced to new technologies, especially in energy saving, food processing and health. They have learned about construction of, latrines, bath rooms and drying racks; solar electricity, solar drying, mechanised tea growing and food processing. The training will continue with inclusion of use of animal traction and transport, improved stoves, paper making and other technologies.
The school considers the girls as change agents and transformational leaders in their respective homes and communities. The school supports the girls and their home members to reflect on their life purpose and enhances their understanding on how one can make a difference in their homes and communities. Backhome projects address in an integrated manner issues of :
1) Food security and preventive health care
2) Sustainable income through sustainable agricultural practices, production of traditional and non- traditional and cottage industries: like honey production, poultry keeping, solar dried produce and local crafts
3) Energy security: ensure enough fuel wood, use of fuel saving stoves; agro forestry practices and electricity from solar panels
4) Values and beliefs that underpin behaviour and promote family cooperation, selflessness and care for others and the eco-system.
THE PARENTS' WORKSHOPS
The school organises two types of training workshops. One type is to educate the parents on what the students have learned during the term and can be applied in their home situation. These workshops are held at the end of each school term and are facilitated by the students while the parents take the role of the students. The workshops provide enlightenment on home and community development related issue which emerge from what students have learned during the preceding term. The students offer parents a divers one-day programme of poems, lectures, demonstrations and songs in order to pass on their learning. They have proven to provide a good platform for understanding relevant strategies for home development. We also organise workshops meant to address specific training needs expressed by parents and guardians. Outside resource persons, often staff of the URDT, facilitate these workshops. The facilitators work in close collaborated with the relevant students and the teachers. The workshops are both residential at the URDT campus or organised near the homes at sub-county level.