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29 November 2016
by Bente Sandal-Aasen, Plan International Norway
As an Education in Emergencies Adviser for Plan International Norway I visited Nduta refugee camp on the boarder to Burundi. My task was to meet and possibly work with the teachers at the only secondary school in Nduta camp.
A year ago the Burundians, more than the half of them are youth, were fleeing from Burundi to Tanzania, and today 250,000 refugees are living in three camps on the boarder to their home country, far away from their loved ones and also far away from the closest town in Tanzania, Kibondo.
UN agencies and NGOs are established in the three camps and have started implementing different programs trying to meet some of the basic needs; water, health, nutrition and protection, and of course education. Plan International established Protection and Youth clubs programs in two of the camps a year ago, but since Plan at that point was not an implementing organization, education was not included in our programming. The youth clubs were reaching out to a high number of beneficiaries, implementing livelihood programs and also trying to convince the youth that they should go to school because that would possible give them some opportunities for higher education and a job in the future.
Out of the 60,000 refugees in Nduta camp, 60% are between 15 and 30 years old, which means 36,000 youth live in the refugee camp, and only 700 go to secondary school, of which only 171 are girls. The head teacher indicated that “every week, girls are dropping out due to insufficient community and parental knowledge and awareness on the importance of education, particularly for girls.” Parents don’t encourage girls to continue their education due to household chores and taking care of siblings. Another main reason is early marriage and the more personal issues such as shortage of dignity kits, menstrual hygiene materials, and proper sanitation facilities in schools.
I had almost a day with the school management and the teaches, and had in mind the newly developed Teachers in Crisis Contexts Training Pack. However I was not sure, considering the short time, if I would be able to introduce a couple of chapters for the 33 secondary teachers teaching in the only secondary school in Nduta. What could I possible do?
Discussing with the school management and the head teachers I clearly understood that the biggest worry was regarding the none educated teachers behavior and lack of teaching knowledge. Many questions came up, How to plan for a day, a week, a month or the whole term, to better understand and be able to facilitate a subject? Why the teachers needed a range of teaching styles? How the teachers trained could facilitate and monitor the teachers not trained? How teachers could establish “teacher circle” and discussed what went well and as how teachers could challenge and learn from each other?
So what I decided to do in collaboration with the four educated teachers: unpack the STAR, the Big 5 Principles of Classroom Management.
I gave a short introduction to the five main areas in the TICC package;
With the teachers and their need to better understand why teachers behavior was important while teaching, we decided to unpack the STAR, a strategy for effective classroom management with specific techniques that they could use in the classroom. The teachers were divided into five groups with the four educated teachers and myself as facilitators. They were asked to unpack the STAR , from the Pedagogy chapter.
The groups were also asked to discuss and give examples regarding:
Using the outcomes from the group work we started discussing punishment; and the same groups were asked to quickly go through the three questions from chapter 2 about Child protection, Well-being and Inclusion; Corporal Punishment :
All three groups alternated between using mother tongue, French and English, so I was not able to fully understand the outcomes but the other facilitators got an understanding from the participants that the session was very useful and they established teacher circle groups and decided to meet on a weekly basis. They agreed on discussing the importance of developing Teacher Code of Conduct, because they needed indicators to monitor each other’s behavior in the classroom. This said the need for “quality hard and software support” to the hidden and forgotten refugee crisis in the three refugee camps at the Tanzania boarder to Burundi is HUGE! And as an EiE specialist it was a really good experience that the TICC Primary package also can be used for and with Secondary teachers.
Bente Sandal-Aasen, Senior Adviser Education in Emergencies (EiE) at Plan International Norway, has more than 30 years’ experience working with education and EiE. She has worked for Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Association of Disabled, Norwegian People, and UNICEF. During the last 20 years she worked developing, designing, and implemented EiE programs in many countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She has also been an Education Cluster Coordinator and EiE program manager in complex emergencies such as Myanmar 2008, Gaza 2009, Pakistan 2010, Philippines 2013 (Tacloban), and more. She is a trainer and facilitator in EiE programming, and INEE MS and contextualization processes.