Thursday, March 25, 2010

A mobile school for villages that herd livestock

For the wandering villages of Kenya, it's hard to bring children to a school building. For these herding villages go where there is grass and water for their animals. When an area dries up, they pack up the village and move. So instead of building schools, Kenyan public education have a teacher embedded in the village who moves with it.

From the BBC, writer Will Ross proifles one such teacher and how he has to be creative in his teaching. The link to the story also contains a video that shows the classroom under a tree.

With no walls to display any visual aids the teacher, Hassan Farah, had pinned a few posters to the twigs of the tree to help with the English lesson.

"We had more posters up yesterday," he says.

"But it rained last night and a few were washed away."

The children operate a shift system - lessons in the early morning are followed by a stint looking after the animals and then they return for another class in the late afternoon.

These children no longer have to make a choice between their nomadic lifestyle and an education - they can do both.

"I really enjoy this job as I am from the same community and I want to help these children," says Mr Farah, who teaches a total of 57 students - two-thirds of them boys.

"If it was not for me they would not have gone to school."

Outdoor lessons do throw up the occasional unexpected problem.

Halfway through the class, one young boy started screaming and clutching his right foot.

"He was stung by a scorpion and most of them here are poisonous," says Mr Farah.

"But with our traditional medicine he'll be all right in a couple of hours."

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