Two British Head teachers Jo Lundy, of St Edmundsbury Primary, and Anna Berridge, of Risby Primary, completed a 10-day trip to various schools in the Nyamasheke region but have went back home touched by the resilience of Rwandan students.
The duo was visit with Mark Bennett, an advisory teacher from Suffolk County Council’s Learning Improvement Service, who has laid the groundwork for an educational exchange project in the western province of Rwanda.
The teachers said that the situation of schools looked evidently ‘under resourced’ compared to UK schools but this didn’t stop the students from striving to study hard- which is a challenge in their experience.
On her part, Lundy said that “I will take away from this experience is the desire for learning the children demonstrated at all times. They do their very best irrespective of the weather to get to school every day despite the distances they have to travel on foot. Some have no food to take with them and no appropriate equipment.”
While Berridge said: “The children are unbelievably enthusiastic about learning. The respect they and parents have for education is outstanding. The behaviour in schools is amazing”
Their visit to Rwanda will enact a joint curriculum project to set up sustainable links between Bury St Edmunds and Rwandan schools located in the rural areas of the province.
Apparently, seven of schools in the area have received reciprocal visit grants from the British Council to allow teachers to spend a week in a Rwandan school, whose staff will also visit Bury. A Rwandan delegation will visit Bury in July.
One of the schools is located in Gisakura zone has been not only lined to the St Edmundsbury School but also inaugurated projects of vegetable gardens. Risby primary school has been linked to a school in Mukoma and will focus on sustainable development, taking care of the environment, learning about fitness through physical activity.