A lack of proper training or support for teachers in rural Sierra Leone is failing the children who have fought so hard to get in to school. We’re training these teachers to do the best possible job in difficult circumstances.
Only 44.5% of adults in Sierra Leone are literate. It is therefore particularly heartening to see that genuine progress has recently been made for younger generations. Up to three quarters of the country’s children are now attending primary school.
What continues to be a problem is that there are not enough teachers in poor and rural areas like Kambia. Where there are teachers, they haven’t had any formal training.
With our years’ of experience of working with rural teachers, in Sierra Leone, DR Congo & Liberia, we understand the particular challenges they face in isolated and unsupported schools.
The training that we’re delivering in Kambia enables existing teachers to move away from ineffective rote-learning. They are trained to understand their subjects and plan interactive, engaging lessons.
Children are put at the heart of the learning process. They’re asked questions, and encouraged to ask them back or to come to the blackboard to help solve problems as a class.
For most teachers, this is the first formal training they’ve ever had.
The drop-out of young rural teachers in Sierra Leone is also a real problem. Theirs is a tough and often lonely existence.
The experienced teachers who we’re training to be ‘Lead Teachers’ will have two roles. Firstly, they’ll establish a strong network of rural teachers which can share learning and best-practice between schools. Secondly, they’ll be there to give peer-to-peer support to young, less experienced teachers; offering a friendly face to turn to when the going gets tough.
To receive a state teacher’s salary in Sierra Leone, you need to have undergone the government’s teacher training course. Very few in Kambia have. We’re providing a group of rural teachers with bursaries, paying for them to do the government course by distance learning.
It’s not only the teachers who’ll see the benefit. Pupils will enjoy the effect of a well-trained teacher, and parents who have little to spare, will no longer have to cover the cost of wages.