I have been very busy recently doing a lot of travelling. DFID wanted to do a MLA-monitoring learning achievement-so we have been visiting various LGEAs to monitor the SSIT as they conducted this. They also had to do lesson observations against set criteria. Some of the schools were quite remote. This school was far from the main road and down a very bumpy track. As you can see it is in a very bad state. The roof is falling in and there is little furniture.
The classrooms are very depressing and the blackboard is full of holes making it difficult to write on. Most of the desks are broken.
Children still use this room which I thought was a very dangerous place to be. The beams are very loose and fall out frequently.
This is the kindergarten classroom! Most of the little desks are broken and there are no chairs.
The SSIT did the pupil interviews outside under the tree. The environment outside was actually pleasant as there were several trees and everywhere was green. However when it rains there are big problems. The rain gets in the big holes in the roof and everyone has to huddle into the few dry spaces. There is also no bore hole here so they have no water and the children have to go into the bush when they need the toilet. However, when I walked around the school I met an amazing teacher. The kindergarten teacher was on a course so as she was taking her class as well as her own-Primary 1. The little children had to sit on the floor and her own class were on a variety of broken benches but she was using the lesson plans and teaching numeracy in a lively way! She had made a poster of the shapes and had oblects for each shape. She was lovely with the children and was getting them to come out and demonstrate. I felt really moved to see her teaching so well against all the odds. These teachers get so little praise and even less salary. I only hope that she doesn’t get transferred. This system of transferring teachers makes me so angry. If a teacher’s husband doesn’t like where his wife is working he can do a ‘deal’ with the powers that be and get her moved. As aresult other teachers have to move so well trained teachers, who are perfectly happy where they are, are suddenly told that they have to teach somewhere else. They have no say in the matter and may then have to travel great distances to their new school with no extra money provided. Often they are sent to secondary schools. It is such a waste of our training and very bad for the children. In one school they only had one teacher left who had had our lesson plan training.
In another school I visited most of the classrooms were unusable. I went into a very small room-almost a cupboard and there was another wonderful woman. She had twenty pupils crammed in the room but what a room! She had covered the walls with posters made from the backs of old calendars, pictures and flash cards. These women are truly inspiring. They are really trying to do their best for the children. They are appreciative of even the slightest thing. I soon realised that if I shake their hand they are thrilled. Such a small thing and so easy to do! The children love it too. At first I felt a bit guilty-who did I think I was to go round shaking hands and waving to everyone???-but the pleasure it gives (the teachers say the children will go home and talk about the day they shook a white person’s hand) outweighs any delusions of grandeur I may acquire!!!!
They have so little yet are desperate to give me gifts of food and drink. I try to make them give it to their own teachers but some schools say I have to take it as it is given with love.