Albino Mawien, 27, and a father of two and is a volunteer teacher in a primary school in South Sudan’s Tonj North County. He wanted to become a veterinarian but dropped out of his studies at the University of Bhar-el-Ghazal for lack of resources.
The primary school is government-supported with few qualified teachers. Head teacher William Wol said they depend more on volunteers for the school’s teaching force.
Wol added that the standard number of teachers for schools covering primary one to eight is 24 but for this school he supervises 12 are volunteers and the rest are regular teachers.
The hunger crisis in South Sudan has driven many qualified teachers to seek for better opportunities to make ends meet for their families. A UNICEF report stated that an estimated 2.8 million children in the country are out of school, the largest of these number are girls.
Mawein says, “Just like these children, I benefited from voluntary teachers in primary school. Now that I have the chance, I decided to also volunteer for the children from my community.”
He shared that the teaching method still use the traditional way, which is teacher-centered. The learners listen and just aim to pass the tests, until World Vision trained the teachers.
“We taught the children based on the knowledge that we have, but the training gave us guidance and direction how to properly impart knowledge for the learners”, he explains.
World Vision’s education project is being funded by United Nation’s Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Program. Through this partnership, 75 volunteer-teachers and technical assistants were trained in Warrap State, 41 of them from Tonj North County.
We became confident how to raise questions in class. We now feel the teachers’ concern for us.
The training aimed to enhance their capacity to perform their roles and responsibilities using basic professional teaching skills such as classroom management, preparation of lesson plans and teaching aids, instilling discipline and care of learners with disabilities.
The volunteer-teachers were also further trained on child protection, gender-based violence and other related issues, and awareness on mental health and psychosocial support.
“The learners can now organize sentences and discuss assignments as groups. We created practical demonstration sessions, one-on-one coaching, and changed the way of teaching that helped the children participate in class”, Wol added.
Albino has to walk three hours every day to the school and persevered as a volunteer for five years. He shares, “We all have a part to play in making this nation a better place for children.”
He added that with the training, the children’s outlook about education is not just to pass the exams but to understand and retaining the knowledge and skills for future use.
Rebecca, 14-years old and now in primary six, shares, “We became confident how to raise questions in class. We now feel the teachers’ concern for us.”
She said that she can freely approach the teachers for support and have regular sharing of lessons with other learners under the guidance of the teachers.
Wol adds, “The volunteers’ training raised the standard of teaching in our school. It also improved the children’s attitude toward learning. With this good performance, I recommended to the County Education Director for them to be elevated as regular teachers.”
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Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator