An enthusiastic man who helps young minds build confidence, open doors and shape futures
By Catherine Kuria
Aristotle once said that those who educate children well are more to be honoured than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well. Albert Einstein followed up and stated that, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
While it’s a popular belief that teachers only work from eight to four and have more weeks of holidays than other professions, a teacher’s job is a challenging one that does not end with the school day. Teaching is a rewarding career that requires high level knowledge and a range of personal qualities to help students on the path to success. A teacher presents the past, reveals the present, and creates the future. He/she nourishes the soul of a child for a lifetime. One such person is Mr. Stephen Abuko.
He attended Multi Media University and undertook an undergraduate course in journalism and mass communication. After completion, he worked for a few years then proceeded to Catholic University and studied bachelors of commerce in marketing management. He also has a diploma in public relations and advertising. Initially, he aspired to be a mechanical engineer. He humorously claims that his parents ‘short-changed’ him. The admission letter to study journalism arrived earlier before the one for mechanical engineering and his parents convinced him to take the former. “I have zero regrets with regards to the career path I took because life is what you make it. The profession I took has given me further openings within it and I’m content with that,” he says.
Mr. Abuko started lecturing in 2009 just 2 years after attaining his first degree. He worked with Eldoret Aviation till March 2013. He then relocated to Nairobi and taught public relations in various institutions such as East Africa school of Media Studies, ICS College and Nairobi Aviation as a part-time lecturer. In July 2014 he joined NIBS Technical College, Thika road campus as a full time lecturer. On 28th of December 2017 he was then promoted to head the journalism department at NIBS town campus.
Role as head of department
As the head of a section you do more of the managerial functions. He foresees all the functions of the department at the staff and student level. He is there to provide leadership, mentorship, support and motivation to his staff. He acts as a parent, a counselor and provides hope to students of diverse background.
“As a manager, you have to be all rounded. To students I am their teacher and friend because it’s about impacting positive growth in their young minds. I connect the staff, the students and the management at the end,” he notes. Every semester he sits with the staff and sets target to be met by the department in terms of academics and overall performance and at the end he evaluates the performance of both students and staff members. He develops and sustains appropriate structures for management, consultation, decision-making and communication with staff and students. He elaborates that, “I ensure the best possible student experience through the fulfillment of the institutions responsibilities concerning students in respect of their admission, instruction, progress and examination and also avail of pastoral assistance to them.”
Experiences and drives
He credits life for giving him experiences, both good and bad. He has met people in the teaching profession who have impacted his life in different dimensions. Mr. Abuko is proud of having produced over 23, 000 graduates who have gone through his hands and have their success stories to share. He is a happy man today because he has helped shape and change people’s lives.
He is one of the brains behind the introduction of NIBS Thika town campus. When the campus was started it was offering hospitality, journalism and cosmetology only. He says that, “We foresaw the start and introduced the courses. Today the campus is developing at a high speed and soon it will be bigger than the town campus.” In his current position, he has initiated some upcoming projects that are still in the initial stages of development and hopes to unveil them to the world soon.
He is driven by hard work, objectivity and having some realism in life. Hard work opens up opportunities and challenges that help you grow in life as a person. He tries to instill it in the people around him at the work place. Objectivity enables him to measure the results. It measures his time, resources and set targets.
The place of journalism
Journalism is a major stakeholder in the growth of our economy. When you look at the core functions of journalism; to educate, entertain and inform, you find that it has opened up lots of opportunities. It has provided employment for individuals who serve at different capacities and through this, peoples living standards have been uplifted within our community.
He credits journalism for helping develop programs that have uplifted the society. It has help bring discussions on poverty eradication and prevention of various lifestyle diseases. This has created awareness and empowered people on how to take care of themselves. There is also the aspect of spiritual nourishment in the programs aired. “Journalism is doing a lot in education, politics, economics and environment related issues hence the country is reaping massive economic benefits from that,” he utters.
There is a lot of growth in journalism today. The upsurge in technology has revolutionized the way the industry operates. The news gathering, processing and dissemination have changed. The available technology has introduced us to elements like mobile journalism which has given rise to citizen journalism. Mobile phones and the internet have given citizens without any journalistic training the power and ability to perform journalistic functions. This has given journalists a loop hole to enhance the content they present to their audiences.
Advice on careers
Mr. Abuko encourages young people to follow their hearts. He acknowledges the fact that most parents want to have a say in their children’s lives but that at times can be toxic. He notes that, “Individuals have varying interests and it is okay to love something different. If your heart is into something then don’t be afraid go for it. Try to perfect what you are passionate about and success will follow.”
He does not end there, but instead continues to give hope to the hopeless by saying that, “Life does not end just because you don’t have a way out. Your chance is coming and one day somebody somewhere will take note of your abilities and lend you a helping hand. Make a choice today and be happy with the choices you make because you only get one shot to live.”
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that, “To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor.” Life is what you make of it. If it gives you lemons, make lemonade. Learn to be happy in the space you are in because peace of mind is attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.