Ars Politico Africanae: National Youth Service Mombasa

Andy, if you read this, (or any other L atin nerds for that matter), feel free to correct the title.

With that out of the way, recently we have had some political developments in my life here in Kenya, both at the local level and at the nationwide level. I thought I would share them with you. I have split the post into two parts. Part one will cover recent developments at NYS, and part two will cover the release of the draft constitution here in Kenya.

National Youth Service

For the umpteenth-billion time, mostly for my new readers, I work at the National Youth Service Technical College Mombasa (actually in Mtongwe). In Peace Corps terms, this is my site, and it is also my primary project, and it is also my, “community.” All three wrapped up in one really makes me life a bit easier. Over this past semester, as more and more teachers and I have become buddy-buddy, I have started to develop a more refined picture of the political scene at NYS. Thankfully, I exist mostly outside of said political scene, being a volunteer in an organization where I am placed here by HQ, and whatever HQ says, they do. Hooray immunity!

NYSTC has two very distinct poles of power, the technical side (teachers) and the structural (I guess that would be the word…) side (NYS Officers). My base is a pseudo-military camp where the students are living a type of military-style life, albeit a relaxed one from what I understand, while also attending classes to attain their Craft-level Certificates. (Note: I finally have discovered the ranking of, “knowledge,” here. It goes KCSE (score on secondary school exam), Artisan, Craft, Diploma, Higher Diploma, Degree (our undergraduate), Masters, PhD. I apologize for nesting my parentheses, I’ve been learning Lisp.)

It turns out that my colleagues are of the opinion that these distinct poles are in conflict with one another, not in the NYS program overall, but at this camp in particular. It seems there are different priorities at play between training and educating, as well as your typical power struggles in general, combined with the leaders of each pole, Principal and Commanding Officer, having very different methods of getting the job done which results in nothing getting done at all. Complaints include the lack of proper furniture for teachers, lack of materials for workshops (I myself have admittedly submitted the same budget request twice to no avail; anyone want to donate a toner cartridge for a HP Laserjet 4250?), and just general silliness when it comes to teacher holiday time. Apparently, my colleagues are under the Ministry of Labour or Ministry of Youth Affairs, not the Ministry of Education, which effectively means they aren’t teachers in the same way as primary and secondary school teachers.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Ars Politico Africanae: National Youth Service Mombasa

  1. Andrew Carroll

    Just read it. I would do Ars Politica Africanae (ars is feminine and politica needs to agree with it.)