Teacher Training, Providing Quality Education to Refugees
The RET organised a two-week teacher training in September 2012 for Sudanese refugee teachers. Its aim is to improve the quality of the teaching and the learning outcomes in refugee camps situated in Eastern Chad. The training took place in Abéché where 116 Sudanese refugee teachers (originally from Darfur) drawn from six refugee camps of Gaga, Farchana, Bredjing, Treguine, Goz Amir and Djabal, gathered together to acquire new pedagogical tools and sharpen their teaching methods.
The training, which is accredited by the Sudanese Ministry of Education, was conducted by three certified teacher trainers (two from Khartoum and one based in Abéché). The training was comprehensive in its coverage and led to the issuance of a training certificate. It covered students’ psychology; teaching theories; classroom management; preparation of lessons; systems of evaluations and an analysis of textbook content. “The certificate awarded to the participants at the end of the training qualifies them to apply for a teacher position in Darfur upon repatriation,” explained Ms. Naima Aldjazouli Abdelhamid, one of the three trainers. “Such certification and accreditation is unique in Chad and an integral part of the RET’s programme there, and a core requirement of RET programmes worldwide”, said Sofyen Khalfaoui, the RET’s Chief of Mission in Chad.
It is the first time, since they fled from Sudan in 2003-2004, that refugees from Darfur benefit from a training of such a scope. As an objective of the year’s programme, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), this training aims to broaden and enhance the responsibility of refugee teachers towards their community. “This training opportunity is understood by all participants as a pillar to enhance the quality of education offered to refugee youth,” Said Asad, an English Teacher from Djabal refugee camp. Equally, one of his colleagues reckons that teachers are the roots of knowledge in a community and that all the newly acquired skills will benefit the camp as a whole. Indeed, this is one of the RET’s founding principles and objectives to benefit as large a number of beneficiaries in the community as possible.
In spite of the great logistical challenges, including floods that affected transportation, 90% of the teachers working in schools managed by the RET managed to attend. As reported by Daniel Yerima, Chief logistician for the RET in Chad: “To transport all the beneficiaries to Abéché, an unprecedented coordination effort between the RET, the UNHCR and school personnel had to be deployed”. During the rainy season, “wadis” (when valleys turn into seasonal rivers) isolate certain areas completely and make surrounding villages inaccessible. For this reason, some teachers travelled to Abéché in humanitarian flights, while the others were transported in large trucks able to cross the flooded wadis.
To demonstrate their improved capacity acquired during the training, the teachers had the opportunity to teach a class at the Abéché Chad-Sudanese Friendship School. They all conducted classes on a choice of subjects, such as Arabic, Mathematics or Health & Nutrition. “I am delighted to see how much has been learnt by all the participants – this is for sure the best springboard for the new school year to start in the best possible manner.” proclaims Ousman Mahamat Saleh, Deputy Chief of Mission, who has been with the RET programme since inception nearly eight years ago.