Teachers in Bor applaud SB2S project for improving their working condition

Monday 24 January 2022

Teachers during a Safe Back to School (SB2S) conference in Bor. Photo: Daniel Danis/Save th Children 

Bor, South Sudan - Teachers in Bor town have embraced their newly acquired skills resulting to an improved participatory learning approach among pupils.

The teachers have attributed the improved working conditions in their schools to the provision of training opportunities provided by Save the Children in Jonglei state

Under the ‘Safe Back to School’ (SB2S) project, Save the Children organized a one-day participatory conference in the state capital on December 21, 2021 to enable teachers weigh the impact of the support given to them and their schools.

The teachers reflected on their working conditions before Save the Children intervened and thereafter. It was also an opportunity for the participants to follow-up on the implementation of the action points generated during the refresher training for teachers on teaching methodologies.

The SB2S project provided training to teachers on learning circle and methodologies, and provision of hygiene and sanitation materials.

They were also trained on how to engage their communities through dialogue as a means of encouraging the population to send and keep children in schools.

“After the training, has it changed your way of thinking, has it changed how you work?” Otto James Alfred, SB2S Education Project Officer, poised the question to the participants.

Prior to the interventions of the Safe Back to School project, it was noted that most teachers were reluctant to prepare scheme of work or develop lesson plans.

“They considered it as waste of time, as a result they embarked on direct use of textbooks [while] others were not improvising their teaching aids to complement their lessons,” said Peter Jol Maker, headteacher of Panapet Primary School.

The participants professed that this contributed to a decline in the number learners attending classes due to poor delivery of lessons by the teachers.

“Some pupils found learning unattractive.”

However, the participants admitted that the training opportunities have helped them in subject planning and classroom management.

Others said the methodology and learning circle have improved their interactions with pupils whereby “we have developed a participatory learning approach with our children.”

This approach is sustained through the guidance of the “Subject Panel’’ with support from the headteachers.

Most teachers now use local materials to prepare their Teacher-Learner Aid which complements teaching and learning.

Meanwhile, some teachers say they now wear descent clothes and appear neat in schools due to the provision of soaps under SB2S WASH programme. The WASH programme is meant to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and other diseases amongst teachers and their pupils.

Most importantly, the participants took note of the milestone reached in regards to community dialogue and engagements between teachers and parents - after parents of pupils from Bor Girls Primary School pledged to each provide 3,000 South Sudanese Pounds as cash support to the teachers.

According to Panchol Anyang, Bor County Director of Education, the reflections and testimonies by the teachers are indications that “Save the Children is helping [teachers] to ensure next year [2022] they deliver quality education to the children” of the state.

The conference further identified some of the factors they say continue to hinder teaching and learning in the Bor County. They include the lack of financial motivation for teachers, lack of sufficient learning materials, and the lack of permanent classrooms, latrines and school fences.

They, however, commended Save the Children for the construction of some WASH facilities, and asked that it continues to provide more dignity kits, refresher training courses for teachers and Parent-Teacher Associations to boost enrolments and retentions.

The teachers further recommended the provision of School meals and takeaway rations for girls through the SCI nutrition department, and the provision of medical care for children while at school “to motivate parents to send their children to school.”

The conference was attended by 42 teachers and tutors from 5 schools within Bor town.

They include; Panapet Primary School, Akayiech Primary School, Jarweng Primary School, St. Augustine Primary School, and Bor Girl’s Primary School.

The conference was also attended by the County Director for Education, a tutor from Dr. John Garang Memorial University and some directors from the State Ministry of Education.

About Safe Back to School

Safe Back to School is funded by Pooled Fund to accelerate safe return of pupils to school, retention until completion after and beyond SB2S project. It also supports child protection, WASH rehabilitation campaigns and awareness initiatives.