Schooling teachers

The Flemish organisation Leraar Zonder grenzen (Teachers without Borders) has successfully taken over the education project that Edukans started in Kirundo in 2009. For more on this topic see the website  Click here for the complete report.

The Results in 2011                                     2011docenten

  • The lower-educated English teachers had the chance to improve their proficiency and become acquainted with communicative teaching methods. They still need to work on implementing these methods in their daily teaching, and on creatively working with the imposed syllabuses and textbooks. Although they are lucky enough to have the group of fourteen English teachers who have followed summer courses over the past three years to help and support them, they still need outside support and inspiration.
  • The French teachers became acquainted with various communicative teaching methods. They’ve indicated that they would like to practice and expand their language skills by using our materials. They want to explore more teaching methods and try these in micro-lessons.
  • The two language groups have to deal with an enormous lack of materials. To offer them some immediate help, the French and English teachers were given a collection of about thirty lesson plans that will allow them to work without a textbook, using only a blackboard and a piece of chalk.
  • To improve ICT skills, both the maintenance personnel and the teachers followed an intensive trainings course in Office Suite.
  • The goal to have everyone follow four hours of instruction in pedagogy was not completely met. Although these classes turned out to be too cursory to be effective, they did provide a good chance for everyone to reflect and share experiences.

The Needs

  • Our top priority is the lack of the required textbooks and for both teachers and their students. Since the textbooks are no longer for sale, the only option is to make copies in Bujumbura and then to pass them out in the schools.
  • Another request is to provide CD and cassette players for the listening comprehension exercises. But since many schools still have no electricity and batteries are too expensive and of poor quality, rechargeable battery systems powered by solar energy must be found and paid for.
  • Because of the rising costs of living, the Burundian teachers cannot afford to pay for transportation (gasoline costs than 2 euro per liter), accommodations, and food expenses. We got goose bumps when we saw a teacher arrive at school around 10 a.m., saying that he had walked 16 km since 6 o’clock that morning because he had no money for a motorcycle-taxi.
  • The English teachers who have followed summer courses would like to further improve their English proficiency. A work placement in an English speaking country, either in or outside of Africa, would be greatly beneficial to them. The possibility of applying for grants should be investigated.
  • Volunteers are willing to work together with the Burundians to organize computer classes to give to interested teachers. Several ICT teachers who have followed the summer course are also willing to give free lessons to their colleagues.
  • Both the ICT teachers and the language teachers would very much like to use the library in the Amahoro Center. Last spring some 8000 books were collected there: fiction, non-fiction, and many didactic textbooks for teaching English and French. In Bujumbura the dean of the University of Burundi, who is in charge of training the librarians, is willing to send trainees to the Amahoro center in Kirundo in order to optimize the library’s operation. A bookmobile service will have to be set up if the schools that are situated further away from Kirundo are to be able to use the library collection as well. Suitcases full of books can then be borrow and returned monthly. That way, students and teachers from rural areas would also have the opportunity to get hold of real books. The support that the Amahoro Center can offer to the Burundian teachers is fundamental to the sustainability of the World Teachers Project and therefore requires our attention and energy. An action plan to set up library operations should be formulated soon.