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Caithness Teachers Volunteer For Malawi
Though education is now free in Malawi it is not compulsory and as a result there is a high drop out rate particularly in rural areas.
In Namingkanga School though there are 266 pupils on the roll in standard one there are only eighteen in standard 8. There are four permanent classrooms and four temporary classrooms. There is no staff room or head teacher’s office.
The school serves nineteen villages where the houses are made of mud and thatch or brick with metal roofs. The local community supports the school by moulding bricks for constructing toilets, school blocks and teachers’ houses. They also employ a volunteer teacher.
Water at the school is provided by one borehole which the local community share with the school.
Maureen Miller, headteacher at Keiss and Cansibay Primary schools and Roger Bamfield an advisory teacher with Highland Council’s Autism Outreach Education Service, will be leaving Edinburgh on Friday 29 June, giving up their summer holiday to help improve education in the African country of Malawi.
They are the only teachers from the north of Scotland, going with sixteen other teachers from central Scotland as part of the Global Teachers Programme (GTP), run by international agency Link Community Development. The programme provides Scottish teachers and headteachers with a challenging, rewarding and motivating professional and personal development experience.
Maureen and Roger will live and work in two different village communities, where there isn’t any running water or electricity. They are going to work with staff at their village schools helping to develop leadership, management and teaching practice in the school. They will also be learning a lot themselves as they will be living in the local community and stretching their own professional skills.
The programme lasts 15 months and the highlight will be their five week placement in LCD’s school improvement project in Malawi. The GTP and the Scotland-Malawi School Improvement Project is supported by the Scottish Executive Education Department.
They said: “Last year we had an opportunity to spend a short time in Malawian schools. We usually spend the summer holiday taking things easy but when we were offered the opportunity to take part in LCD’s brilliant Global Teachers Programme living in and working with a Malawian community for several weeks, we had to take it up. It is a chance to give and also learn so much, both in Malawi and on our return to Scotland.”
They are currently looking to raise £2,000 each towards the cost of this placement in Malawi. They hope to help Scottish and Malawian children form links so they can learn about each others’ lives. Global citizenship is one of the current key developments in Scottish education. Maureen hopes both Keiss and Canisbay schools will develop formal links with schools in Malawi through the LCD’s Link Schools Programme which offers ongoing support to the partner schools. Following the placement Roger plans to work in Highland to help raise awareness amongst children, including those with autism, of global development issues in Malawi.
LCD is a charity which works to improve the quality of education in Africa and raise awareness of development issues in Scotland. LCD believes education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and their education development projects in Africa are run in partnership with the local departments of education.
If you would like to support Maureen or Roger through Link Community Development in Scotland this can be done through www.justgiving.com/caithnessglobalteacher or www.justgiving.com/highlandglobalteacher on the internet or contacting them directly. For more information about Link Community Development visit www.lcd.org.uk .
LOCATION OF MALAWI