While kids are kids and we would not pretend that our students are universal saints who always thirst for knowledge, it would certainly be fair to say that we see far greater willingness to put themselves out for education than we would from the average UK teenager.
I do not remember, while teaching in a British boarding school, ever having to threaten to confiscate the books of a student who I caught studying in the middle of the night. It is not an uncommon event here. [There is a conviction that getting up and working through the night is the only way of really being serious about your study.]
Equally noteworthy is the attitude of the staff to opportunities for training. I was one of those who grumbled whenever the mention of ‘inservice’ training was made, when I was teaching in the UK. I am genuinely impressed, therefore, at the willingness of all the EducAid staff to participate in whatever training is proposed.
It is worth saying that it is not a comfortable enterprise either. All the up-country staff camp in the Lumley [Freetown] school during trainings. This can involve sleeping bodies all over the place and everyone putting up with the discomfort, in order to access whatever new knowledge is going.
The entire staff has just returned back to base, having spent most of half term doing training in curriculum issues, IT and designing materials. There would be a rebellion amongst UK teachers who had such a programme proposed to them!
The leadership team: Serious engagement with the complexities of a skills based curriculum.
The junior staff: equally willing to think through the quality of their work.