It is 7.30am on a Monday, and pupils at M M Shah Primary School are congregated for their weekly morning assembly christened ‘Family Hour’.
This is more than the usual assembly sessions in schools, judging from the activities here.
Apart from the usual activities in the morning assembly which include raising the national flag, morning prayers and announcements by the prefects and teachers on duty, there is much more.
Immediately after the usual activities, we notice a handful of students stepping to the front.
The sound system used by the school for addresses quickly turns into a news production studio.
Jingles can be heard, and soon a pupil introduces herself as the news presenter of the day, complete with a sign language interpreter.
In the 15-minute program, the presenter introduces news intros and invites others who act as reporters, giving detailed package of the news articles.
The news revolve around happenings within the school, locally and nationally, packaged to reflect the normal news programs in the Kenyan televisions.
For the past six months, M M Shah students have been entertained to this kind of package by the members of the Journalism Club.
Mr Jackson Oyondi is the patron of the club.
The Kiswahili teacher says he was motivated by the CBC to form the club, and mentor the pupils.
As a way of actualizing my dream, I saw it wise to share the passion through the mentorshipJackson Oyondi, Journalism Club Patron
“With the focus on CBC, we have been monitoring the capabilities of different pupils, and I approached some of them to form the club,” he says.
Mr Oyondi says his ambition was to become a journalist, but he did not make it, and landed into teaching.
“As a way of actualizing my dream, I saw it wise to share the passion through the mentorship,” he says.
According to him, he approached the parents of the pupils and informed them that he wanted to recruit their children into the club.
With time, many more joined.
John Onyango, a Standard Eight pupil is one of the members of the club.
Despite not dreaming of becoming a journalist in future, Onyango says he joined the club to improve his skills in public speaking.
“I would wish to become a teacher in future, and I need to develop my confidence of speaking infront of people,” he says.
According to Onyango, they utilize the internet to source for local, national and international news.
My mother allowed me to join the club, and I want to improve my language because I want to be an actor in future, and the experience I get here is incredibleKeith Kipchumba
Keith Kipchumba is another member of the club. The Grade Six pupil who participates in drama says he had difficulties with reading, occasioned by low confidence.
“My mother allowed me to join the club, and I want to improve my language because I want to be an actor in future, and the experience I get here is incredible,” says Kipchumba.
Stephany Kimberly, a Grade Six pupil is also a member of the club.
She mostly acts as the sign language interpreter.
Despite not having any knowledge in sign language, she makes gestures as part in making the news presentation set complete.
“I am always loud in class, and teachers use me to make announcements in class. So through this club, I have been able to make good use of my voice, and I would want to become a journalist,” she says.
Audrey Nasike is also a member of this club. The Grade Six pupil says she is also loud and participates in reading sessions in class.
She is the news anchor in the set, and her management of the program is unmatched.
“My mum is proud of what I am doing, and her prayers is that one day I become a news presenter,” she says.
Every Thursday is the Clubs day in the school. This is the time they spend to practice reading, reporting, interviewing, and presentation skills.
With the school having wifi connection, they make use of the internet to learn some of the journalism skills.
According to school head Michael Oriedi, this is part of putting into practice the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
We provide the support to all the students in the various clubs they belong, and we have seen the resultsMichael Oredi, school head
“This gives the children an opportunity to showcase what they have, and it has been paying off,” he says.
“We provide the support to all the students in the various clubs they belong, and we have seen the results,” he adds.
When the school participates in ball games, drama and music festivals, or internal examinations, the news from the events find their way into the programs by the journalism club.
The students’ vision is to visit media houses so as to have first-hand experience of the journalism work, and get mentorship on how to make it into the career.