St Giles Educational Trust in Ghana
In November 2014, Simon O’Donovan, a teacher and teacher trainer at St Giles London Central, travelled to Nkwanta, Ghana for 3 weeks to train a group of teachers as part of a project run by the St Giles Educational Trust. Here he tells us about this amazing experience.
Eight hours North-East of Accra, Ghana, sits a red dusted town called Nkwanta. The jungle covered mountains of the Kyabobo National Park rise to the east and Lake Volta spreads out for hundreds of miles to the west. Due to its remoteness and poor communication links with the rest of the world Nkwanta is an area of “extreme deprivation”.
For three weeks myself and a colleague trained many teachers in two rural schools north of Nkwanta. The schools were basic, with no electrical power or running water and very limited resources. Training teachers with such limited tools was challenging, but it also taught me how great teaching can happen in the simplest of situations. With a knowledgeable inspiring teacher and motivated willing students great achievements are possible.
Aside from the simplicity of the classrooms and minimal resources the students were incredible. I would arrive at the schools early in the morning to see classrooms full of young children studying before their teacher arrived, most children with one book between 6 or more. Their desire to learn was inspiring, as was their support for each other. Observing the teachers work and then teaching them in workshops helped them think about how they teach, and how they can help their students realise their future dreams. And these dreams were big, to be a doctor, a priest, a footballer or a teacher, but these dreams will make Ghana a more prosperous and rich place to live in.
Now I’m back at London Central and my teaching and my teacher training have become so much more richer. Working in education and being a part of people’s development is an absolute pleasure.