ActionAid Sierra Leone promoting Quality Education in Communities.
In rural areas access to quality teaching and teachers is some time a huge challenge within communities. Majority of the teachers employed are largely volunteers who are untrained and unqualified, so this milieu poses a lot of problem for children to have quality education. Furthermore, with this status quo, majority of the teachers can’t feature on government payrolls, which affects their productivity within the classroom on one hand and burden on the few teachers who are trained and qualified.
with this first package from ActionAid, I entered for my Teachers’ Certificate course......says Abubakarr.
As ActionAid sets itself to assist the government to achieve quality education, building schools was not the final remedy. The quality of the teaching should be improved “in our surveys we find out that for us to score a 100% in quality education we need to go beyond just building schools, we need to capacitate the teachers, especially the untrained and unqualified” Duramani Kamara, Project Officer Kambia LRP. In the bid to achieve this, ActionAid embarked on capacitating teachers from various schools through distance education.
Abubakar S Kamara is one of the teachers who have benefited from the scheme “when I sat my O levels in 1993, my parents were not able to pay my fees, so I had to volunteer in the school, as my result was very good” Abubakar informs. Through this scheme, Abubakar together with other 5 teachers were supported as the first batch of teachers that were supported through distance education “with this first package from ActionAid, I entered for my Teachers’ Certificate course” Abubakar again. Through this first package the 5 teachers did very well “in our monitoring visit, we find out that the 5 teachers brought new zeal and skills into the teaching business in the school” Duramani Kamara, Project Officer Kambia LRP. “with my TC programme, I was able to impact my pupils with new skills learnt in the college, for instance when use to teach I do not encourage slow learners, I also look for the bright ones, but with my training I realise that a good teacher should bring the whole class at the same level when teaching” Abubakar says.
After the successful accomplishment of the first course, Abubakar and others were supported for the second time “This was very helpful for me, with the support I went in for my Higher Teacher’s Certificate and with that programme, I added a lot of knowledge to my existing knowledge about teaching” Abubakar says. After finishing the course, Abubakar rose to the rank of one of the senior teachers in the school and was even recognise by the government “I now have a pin code given to me by the Ministry of Education, meaning that I am no longer a volunteer but a certified teacher” Abubakar says.
It is interesting to note that with this support, the quality of teaching in the Masungbala Community School have improved drastically, confirming the quality of teaching from one of the pupils she has this to say “we now understand when our teachers teach, they now explain to us, involve us in the lessons and above all patiently work with us the slow learners” Mabinty Sesay, JSS3. Abubakar plans to go in for his Bachelor of Arts degree and with him being on the payroll now its easy for him to have government scholarship.