Image: The three teachers who participated in the exchange visit, from left to right, Ojja Godfrey (South Sudan), Elinor Farquharson (UK), Glory Msenya (Kenya)
Working together, changing perceptions, building trust
In 2012 Yei Girls’ Boarding Secondary School in Yei, South Sudan entered into a tripartite school partnership with Dyce Academy in Abderdeen, UK and Otieno Oyoo High School in Kisumu, Kenya. As a result of this partnership, the three schools then successfully applied for a curriculum grant from the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme.
As part of the programme one teacher from each school participated in a series of exchange visits, to share ideas and learn from each other.
During the visit to Yei Girls’ Boarding Secondary School the teachers worked during the school day in classes, but also in the girls’ free time they were able to talk to them on a purely personal level. The girls were very interested in learning about Kenya and the UK and were keen to share their aspirations and hopes for the future. They even entertained the international visitors with slick and well-rehearsed drama and musical performances.
Through the real relationships that are developed between schools on the Connecting Classrooms programme, perceptions are changed and trust grows. Ojja Godfrey, the Deputy Head Teacher of Yei Girls’s Boarding Secondary School stated that the partnership, and more specifically, the exchange visit “brought tangible impacts”.
A ‘Building effective partnerships’ workshop, subsequently run by Yei Girls’s Boarding Secondary School, was attended by several local schools looking to encourage joint problem solving in schools in Yei River County.