Shortly after Alhassan died I discovered the joys of online shopping. [I might despise the theory of retail therapy but the reality is that it still works!] Since then, I have become one of Amazon’s most active customers. It is quite a performance getting stuff here still but I generally abuse the offices of any visitor and tell them to bring hand luggage only – I can then make use of their 40kg hold luggage allowance. Kofi and I, Adrian, Swithun and Tony have all come into Lungi laden to the gills in the last few months. And today, a new range of ‘clubs’ go online using all the materials I have mouse clicked to purchase………….
I am quite excited at the thought of getting this whole range of new stuff into the kids’ hands: Virtual Astronomers, The Darwinians, History in Action, Virtual Explorers and so on….
Youngsters here struggle to access reading materials beyond ancient text books, that would have been binned long since, in any other country. They also have drummed out of them any spirit of inquiry from an early age. Any questions asked in class [in traditional schools here i.e. non EducAid schools] are treated as an insubordinate attempt at embarrassing the teacher. Copying is where it is at. Don’t think! Don’t ask questions! Be quiet and copy!
A teacher writes on the board or dictates. A good teacher writes on the board or dictates A LOT!
The EducAid teachers are now proud of the difference between the thinking education that they provide in comparison with the mindless thing on offer elsewhere but it was a battle to win them over initially. It is far more challenging to provide learning opportunities to develop skills and attitudes than it is to regurgitate your college notes for the copying thereof.
The new clubs are part of our on-going endeavour to broaden the scope of our youngsters’ education, to enable them to cope on a global platform and at global standards. This means to help them leave school having developed a whole range of skills which will serve them in the real world and serve the real economic and democratic needs of the country.
The staff preparing to launch activities……
If you are interested in knowing more about the work of EducAid with vulnerable youngsters in Sierra Leone please go to www.educaid.org.uk