Since I’ve arrived, I’ve been growing closer to and more comfortable with all of the teachers at the school, and I can only hope that this relationship continues to grow as the days go by. One of the teachers, Madame Baraka, has been telling me about some troubles Titagya faces, particularly with the parents.
Titagya is currently only a preschool and kindergarten – a private pre-primary school (and I think the only pre-primary school in the village!). There are about five public primary schools in the village of Dalun, but I think Titagya does the best job with its students – though I might be a bit biased…I’m already growing so attached to the children, I feel like I can call them my kids! The name of the school means “change,” and Titagya truly is making a difference in these kids’ lives.
As such, you could see how the parents of the students might want their children to stay at Titagya…well, forever. Once the kids graduate Titagya and go on to primary school, I think they get lost in the regular public school system (although there are currently only about 30 graduates or so; the first “class” to graduate was last year’s). From what Madam Baraka has told me, the teaching styles in other schools are obviously quite different and not as successful. The children are not used to learning in that way, and will not thrive as well as they did at Titagya. Parents, especially, are quite upset, and want Titagya to expand to include primary school grades as well – I got the feeling that Madama Baraka strongly agreed with this sentiment.
I asked Habib and Safianu whether expanding Titagya to include primary classes was a possibility, and they said the only problem was securing funding. Since Titagya is a private school, they don’t get any money from the government, so they’d have to pay for the construction as well as the teachers’ salaries and maintenance of the school, supplies, etc. all by themselves, through donations and such. Safianu seemed confident that they could find good teachers in the village for classes, but money is just always an issue.
I guess only time will tell if Titagya ends up becoming a primary school. In the meantime, I’ve finally finalized with Habib and Safianu what exactly I’ll be working on this summer. My first project involves modifying some existing curriculum modules to make them more suitable and relevant to the classrooms, so that activities and lesson plans can be successfully carried out. These modules each encompass a different topic, like hygiene, undersea creatures, weather, etc. In addition, I’ll be spending a few afternoons observing other primary schools in the village, and am very excited to see how things differ. I think my first visit is going to be on Monday, so I’ll report back here soon!