The Bible Translation and Literacy organization in partnership with the ministry of education and county government has officially launched mother tongue school books for three Kwale communities.
The books are for the Digo, Duruma and Pokomo communities.
The project has been realised through the development of a mother tongue education program for indigenous languages.
According to BTL National Director Peter Munguti, the books are set to be used in schools to teach children the language they understand best.
Munguti said the major goal is to enhance learning, boost morale, understanding and promote children’s education.
“We want to break all the barriers impeding children’s education and promote quality education,” he said.
It is said majority of the children perform poorly and run away from schools for lacking better knowledge of the English language which is used to teach all the subjects except Kiswahili.
The indigenous book language program will be rolled out in primary schools for grades one, two and three students.
Munguti said processes are ongoing to have the program launched in the Early Childhood Development Education.
He said the program also seeks to preserve the indigenous languages of the local communities across Kenya.
The BTL and other stakeholders translated all the subjects for the three classes into the three languages.
It took about seven years for the books to be completed. In the first phase they managed to launch the Sabaot and Tharaka school mother tongue books.
Munguti said the books have been developed in line with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development guidelines.
He said quality mother tongue education language activity books for children and teachers’ guides in Pokomo, Ormo, Digo and Duruma were created and submitted to KICD for evaluation.
Munguti called on the government and parents to support the program for sustainability and development.
The BTL director said the indigenous languages play a crucial role in learning and teaching spaces.
He said if the MTE program is well adopted the future of Kwale County and Kenya at large is on the safe side.
“Through this program, we have broadened our learners’ life choices with knowledge, enabling them to read in a fun way that allows them to make their own decisions, those of their families and the larger community,” he said.
He said BTL will graciously provide technical assistance and necessary support to see continued implementation of the program.
Ministry of Education, Deputy Director Gichuhi Ndegwa commended BTL for the remarkable contribution to the development of indigenous languages.
He said the initiative is in line with the sustainable development goal and the Competency-Based Curriculum.
“The CBC recognizes the need to promote the indigenous languages and at the foundation level children from pre-school to grade 3 are expected to start mother tongue languages,” he said.
Ndegwa said in the near future it also be possible for students to pursue indigenous language studies in higher levels of education.
He said the ministry is aware of the many challenges affecting the teaching and promotion of mother tongue to fit in the national education system.
Ndegwa said the ministry is committed to working collaboratively with BTL and all education stakeholders in addressing the shortcomings and strengthening the program.
Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani said her administration fully supports the MTE program.
She said the program will help a lot in elevating the education status of the county.
“We will support anything that helps the community. The program has a ripple benefit for our children,” she said.
Achani said indigenous language books will play a great role in helping those who don’t know their mother tongue.
A parent Marudio Mukombe said the program will enable children to fast-track their learning and understanding capacity.