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Sierra Rutile funds training for 45 Secondary School Teachers in mining communities

Sierra Rutile funds training for 45 Secondary School Teachers in mining communities

A unique Teacher Training Initiative, organised and funded by Sierra Rutile, has helped 45 Secondary School Teachers working in mining community schools improve their subject knowledge and teaching skills, ensuring that local children get a better standard of education.

Examiners from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) were contracted by Sierra Rutile to conduct two 2-day training sessions in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English Language, for local Secondary School Teachers.

The training sessions were intended to improve subject knowledge, pedagogical techniques and understanding of the curriculum.  They were considered very successful by the attending Teachers who asked that the scheme be extended to teachers at Junior Secondary School level and that Sierra Rutile conduct annual refresher courses.

The late Julius Nyerere, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, said: “Education is not a way to escape poverty.  It is a way of fighting it.”

Indeed the importance of education in poverty eradication has been widely demonstrated, with Sierra Leone’s own 2004 Living Standards Survey showing that poverty levels dropped progressively as the education levels of the household heads increased, particularly in female-headed households.

However, despite government commitment to education, challenges remain, not least of which is the problem of inadequately qualified Teachers.

In 2006, the Campaign for Good Governance found that 54% of teachers in Bombali, 53% in Port Loko, 71% in Kailahun, 33% in Kenema, 41% in Moyamba and 61% in Bonthe of Teachers in the schools surveyed, did not possess the requisite professional teaching qualifications.

In its Agenda for Prosperity, the Government of Sierra Leone highlights the need to improve the quality of teaching in the Agenda for prosperity, making in-service training of Teachers one of its priority activities for the education sector.

With a background in Secondary education, Prince Cotay, Sierra Rutile’s Community Affairs Manager and architect of the scheme, is well aware of the need for Teachers to be both knowledgeable about the subject they are teaching, and have the skills to impart that knowledge.

He says: “We need great Teachers if we want our children to get great results.  A country has to educate its people if it wishes to succeed and Sierra Rutile has a tradition of supporting education. We fund scholarships, build and refurbish schools, provide learning materials, and support a roving library. With this scheme however, we are making a direct investment in the skills and knowledge of Teachers which will benefit every child they teach.  Increasing the skills of our Teachers supports the Agenda for prosperity’s work in this area and we are delighted to be able to contribute in this way.”

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