Relevant, cutting edge, suited to the needs of the youth of 21st century, post-conflict Sierra Leone. For once Sierra Leone might not be last on the index for something! A new teacher training curriculum for Sierra Leonean secondary school teachers is being written.
Dr Sean Higgins [British teacher and long term volunteer with EducAid] and I are working with teams of teacher trainers from all over Sierra Leone writing the distance Higher Teachers' Certificate course. Approximately 40% only of teachers in this country are qualified and trained. However, removing the untrained remainder for training would obviously leave the schools and students in an even worse situation than they are currently.
It is a mammoth project and we are swimming in the best and most up to date literature, thinking and resources from across the world for 20 different subjects.
It is like the fulfillment of all that we have been working on in EducAid for the last nine years. The whole project has the potential to transform learning in secondary schools across the country. For the first time in many many years, teachers in far flung villages will have good quality materials themselves from which they can provide accurate and complete information. For the first time ever there will be a course focusing on skills and attitudes not limited to the most terrifying content heavy course as has previously been the case.
Maybe now, more than 40% of students sitting BECE [junior secondary public exams] and 17% of students sitting WASSCE [senior secondary public exams] will now pass!!!!
We are excited. The lecturers we are writing with are excited. Well... they are now. It has been challenging. Some started quite wary but, almost to a man, they are now really proud of what they are producing. Many from the first batch have been phoning and emailing with tales of already implementing new techniques in their own teaching.