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Prof Thiong’o, Amina bashed for championing mother tongue education

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Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed might be considering to implement usage of mother tongue in primary schools but Kenyans on Twitter seem to hold a different view.

Ms Amina, in a tweet highlighted on her meeting with award winning author Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o, where she says some of the things they discussed was ways of improving the use of mother tongue language as a mode of instruction in PP1 and 2 and its teaching in Grade 1 to 3.

“At my meeting with Prof Ngugi wa Thiongo, we discussed ways of improving the use of mother language as a mode of instruction in PP1 and 2, and its teaching in Grade 1 to 3. Indeed, our mother language transmits identity, values and ethos for a better nation,” tweeted Ms Amina Mohammed.

On Tuesday, the professor of English and Comparative Literature in the United States was at Maseno University to launch Somo Ber, a book in Dholuo published by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP).

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

In his speech Prof Thiong’o said that people who have mastered foreign languages, but are not conversant with that of their ethnic group, are enslaved.

However, on Twitter Kenyans expressed their divergent views on the matter, with most of them terming it a bad idea.

Stanley Miheso asked, “What about those who are working in areas that are not their home town, will they be forced to use another language or leave their families in their villages?”

Muthama nick said, “Why should a renowned literature scholar stoop so low. The old Prof has been overtaken by events n stayed outside foreign land for too long. Kenya has moved on digitally on the global map. How will vernacular language assist our youngsters to develop their skills.”

NOT A GOOD IDEA

Liz Amoth asked, “So in urban areas… which mother language should be used? Asking for some kid.”

Varosa Alambo commented, “In this here time and age… I doubt it’s a good idea. Parents can instruct their kids in whatever language they want. Schools however should instruct as uniformly as they possibly can. Preferably in English and/or Kiswahili.”

Pal Jeff said, “Use of mother language as proposed is possible in rural setups and has been used ever since. But how do you use the same in a city class that comprises almost all the 43 tribes Kenya found in Kenya?”

George M said, “Sometimes it’s better to be silent. We are still playing catch-up as a country, exactly how is mother/father tongue going to give our kids leverage in a global economy? Am I missing something? While at it, start this proposal with the high end schools.”

Nairobi News

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Lifestyle

Why I offered a helping boob to my niece

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Breast milk is the perfect food for babies in their first six months of life. But if, for whatever reason, you are unable to breastfeed your baby, would you hand the task over to another woman?

To many, this is unheard off Actually breastfeeding someone else’s baby, known as wet nursing, is unthinkable for some mothers. This is exactly the same thought that Joan Iravwezi Shamwama had in December 2016 when she was diagnosed with stage one stomach cancer and was under medication.

Since she literally produced no breast milk and her baby Darionne was five months then, her husband decided to introduce baby formula to supplement the little breast milk she was getting. However, things didn’t work out well. The baby lost so much weight such that she became underweight. The family was also running out of money faster as they also had medical bills to pay.

However, her sister-in- law, Doreen Mulinya, who had given birth at the same time with Joan couldn’t sit and watch her niece suffer In this case, she decided to offer a helping boob. While her sister-in-law was taking her medication she assumed her niece’s feeding responsibilities.

 

Fulfilling endeavour

“The decision to wet nurse was something we discussed just as a possibility with my sister Sheila Mulinya before we travelled home for December holiday. It wasn’t serious at first, but my sister made me open up my mind by talking about old women who would breastfeed their grandchildren when the mums passed on,” says Doreen.

Seeing her in-law too weak to breastfeed [by then they were staying together in their mother’s house) it became a no brainer, Doreen had to do it.

“I usually have excess milk. Since I was healthy, I had no objection. At first Joan was shocked since she had not seen it before and she thought

that the baby won’t agree to feed from a stranger,” Doreen recalls.

According to Joan, seeing her daughter breastfeed normally was the best feeling ever. She had wished to exclusively breastfeed her daughter for six months. “I was so happy seeing her breastfeed though not from me. I thank God her aunt was there to play my role,” says Joan.

It was not easy for Doreen to breastfeed the two girls at first. Her baby couldn’t allow Darionne to feed. The children had to learn how to share since all of them were born as singlet. The other challenge was that since her niece had been starved of breast milk for a while, she used to pull, bite and kick because she couldn’t believe that she was feeding again.

“I had to endure the bites and kicks, but deep down, it was really fulfilling. It also made me become closer to my in-law and niece, and my brother too,” says Doreen.

Joan Iravwezi, her sister-in-law Doreen Mulinya and babies Darionne and Na’delle. Doreen breastfed her sister-in-law’s baby after cancerdiagnosis. BELOW: Darionne and Na’delle PD/MILLIAM MURIGI

Extra care

After one week, the family started seeing positive changes on Darionne. One month later, when both parted ways after the holiday, the baby had regained her weight and was ready to start weaning as recommended by World Health Organisation.

“I wish I could have done it longer, but I had to come back to Nairobi to work. But this is something I can definitely do again and again.

I usually have excess milk, so it’s a relief to me. The problem is having the mother to trust me,” says Doreen.

According to Joan, she would recommend wet nursing to women who are unable to breastfeed their children for one reason or another.

It is thought that wet nursing started in ancient times when a mother died during child birth and another woman breastfed and raised the baby. This was, especially so in some African cultures where maternal and child mortality was high.

Most African families were polygamous, and if one of the mothers in the family fell ill or died during childbirth, it was the duty of her co-wives to nurse and bring up the child.

Wet nursing has also been linked to social class, where monarchies, the aristocracy, nobility or upper classes had their children wet-nursed for the benefit of the child’s health, and sometimes in the hope of the mother becoming pregnant again quickly.

Experts argue that there is no reason why women should not feed more than one child simultaneously. Even women who are not lactating or do not have children can still breastfeed. Regular breast suckling can elicit milk production through a neural reflex action. Some adoptive mothers have also been able to establish lactation using a breast pump.

However, there has been growing concerns about milk sharing because some medical conditions such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis and most importantly HIV/Aids pose a great risk to the child if the wet nurse happens to be infected. This calls for extra care and precaution while choosing a wet nurse.

By People Daily

 

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Diaspora

GOFUNDME: Kindly help Jackie Koli bury her mom and get justice

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Jackie Koli’s mom, Beatrice Wanjiku Gitura (pictured above), was murdered in cold blood after she went missing on Friday, May 22, 2020.
On Saturday May 23rd, her body was found in her car a few Kilometers from Embu Town.  Her throat had been slit, hands tied with a rope and a piece of cloth tied across her mouth. It was double tragedy since the sister to her mom (Jackie’s auntie) passed on the same day- Friday morning after battling with cancer.Jackie, an only child, needs our financial support as she prepares to bury her mom and seek justice. Any help will be highly appreciated.

Kindly donate here via Gofundme

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Lifestyle

Becoming a single father in my teens

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Their daily routine entails doing homework and studying, cooking various cuisines ranging from African to Italian, playing jenga [a building blocks game) and also, going for evening walks around the neighbourhood. Looking back, Kennedy Osano, wouldn’t wish for any other gift than that of watching his teenage girl grow into a responsible and humble girl. To him, fatherhood is a lifetime responsibility with its challenges, sweetness and bitterness and he is glad to walk through it as a single parent.

He had met the mother of his daughter in 2006 when they were both in secondary school. He lived in Naivasha, she was in Nairobi. But during the holidays, he would visit his uncle in Nairobi and often would spend time with her.

But it wasn’t long before she showed up in his school with a bulging stomach. He was in Form Three. He had nothing. But he decided he

wasn’t going to deny his blood. Though it was challenging, he proved to be tough and resilient. He adjusted to his new fate and became a paragon of docility and diligence.

A few months later, a princess was born and they named her Mellisa Levian Lanaya. At first, she stayed with her mother. After his secondary education, things changed for the better when he got a job as a messenger at a local bank. He was paid enough for him to save and enroll at a university to pursue an undergraduate degree, which propelled him to move up his career ladder.

Full custody

“I was there by my baby mama’s side all along both physically and emotionally, but when I got a stable job, I could afford to lead a decent life without struggling. I also longed to be closer to my little princess and spend more time with her,” he says.

During school holidays, Mellisa would often visit her father and spend several days before leaving for her mum’s place. At first Osano didn’t know how Mellissa’s mum would react to having him take full custody over their daughter, but he decided to do it anyway. Also, Mellisa’s mother had already moved on and married someone else.

“I was determined to get her to stay with me, so I talked to her mother and we came to an agreement that Mellisa would visit her during the holidays. It wasn’t hard since I had always stepped in and played my part even while my daughter was with her,” he says.

Though he was not a stranger to his daughter, when he started living with her in 2018, they had to start learning each other — learning what his daughter liked and vice versa.

The 31-year-old father says raising her became easy with the support of his friends and family. Also, his baby mama is supportive and is always a phone call away when her attention or guidance is needed. Osano is determined to raise his girl into a disciplined and responsible individual.

But despite the merits that fatherhood has to offer, their biggest challenge is the 18 years age difference, between them. Often, especially when in public, people eye the duo suspiciously.

“She has grown so fast. Sometimes when people see a young girl in the

backseat and no adult woman in the passenger seat, they raise eyebrows. At times I have been questioned and even forced to pull out her birth certificate just to prove my point,” he says.

He makes sure he is in the house in time to have dinner with her and limit the number of guests that come to the house. “Sometimes, a man just needs a quiet place, a beer on his hand; watch his favourite football team play [Arsenal], eating whatever he decides or not eating at all, and spending the night anywhere. However, all this drastically changed,” he says “My biggest challenge is having the sex talk with Melissa— talking to her about boys, her body changes and why she has to shuttle between her mum’s place to my place. But I take her through this, helping her understand we both love her and wish the best for her,” he says.

Fatherly advice

As his only child, Osano has made sure that her interests come first. His parting shot to fathers is to instill the desire for success in their daughters. “I make sure she grows up knowing that her success is solely in her hand and the world will only elevate her to her platform of success, discipline, empathy, modesty, self-belief and respect for authority and those who are older than her will keep her on that right path,” he says.

SINGLE FATHERHOOD

• Your parenting success hinges on having a reliable support system in place. As single parents, dads more often than mums, tend to hold back when seeking out help.

• Many single fathers do not want to get on their children’s bad side. Fathers are often seen as the disciplinarians of the family, and many who find themselves parenting alone attempt to drop that label.

• Single fathers often try really hard to protect their children. Making room for a few limited risks will be hard, but it can increase both your confidence and your child’s.

By PD

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