I was recruited into the Science team of the Curriculum Development Unit, which produced teaching and learning materials for the 1600-odd secondary schools that had sprung up since Independence. The majority of the teachers at that time had but O’ levels themselves, and almost no books or equipment to teach with.
Innovation: I proposed the project to VSO, who supported the cost of the pick-up truck and running costs which allowed the outreach work to take place. The project existed entirely within the government structures: hosted by the national CDU, and supported in the field by the technical officers of the Regional MoE, most of whom came with me for the workshops – though not always for the follow-up visits to the actual schools. I targeted the ‘most remote’ 2 districts in each Province, and I learned the back roads of most of the country.
No other part of the CDU at that time ran outreach work, supporting the huge body of newly recruited, untrained teachers in the remote districts.
A key theme of these workshops – 16 workshops, hundreds of teachers over two years – was listening to and learning from field experience – teachers who were usually untrained but hugely motivated, and very creative. Between us we developed a great portfolio of experiments, demonstrations and resources, totally appropriate to rural situations, and shared them as widely as we could.
After the two years, the project was taken on by another experienced VSO science teacher.