Seychellois teachers, students traveling to Uganda to see ex-pat teachers’ homeland
To help students better appreciate, show tolerance towards and understand expatriate teachers working in Seychelles, a group of local secondary school students and teachers will be going on an exchange trip to Uganda.
The group of 10 students and nine teachers from the English River Secondary School left Seychelles on Thursday and will return on August 23. The trip is part of a project launched by the school at the start of the year.
Dubbed ‘Know where your teachers come from’, the project has been initiated to help the students and staff of the English River Secondary School know the Ugandan teachers better. There are currently over 60 teachers at this school and about half of them being expatriates.
In Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, there is a lack of locals in the teaching profession and as such, the gap has to be filled with expatriate workers. Having a different cultural background from Seychellois, these teachers at times find it hard to earn the respect and appreciation of both students and parents.
The coordinator of the project, Brenda Andimignon, told SNA that students, staff and parents are often ignorant of where these teachers come from and have little to no knowledge about their way of life and cultures.
“It is not necessarily true that the expat teachers hail from poor countries, coming to Seychelles to get a job as if there is none in their country. It will give these pupils the chance to see that the countries are not poor and filled with wars as the media portray them to be,” said Andimignon.
The group will be led on the trip by a Ugandan teacher, Eric Buluma, who has been teaching English at the school for three and a half years.
“We are hoping that once the students come back from Uganda they will be able to teach the others about moral and positive attitude especially how they should behave in the classroom environment and in the school generally. They will also be in a better position to understand how things are done in Uganda,” said Buluma.
The Seychellois group will be accommodated at the St Paul’s Mutolere Secondary School, a boarding school in Uganda. The travel cost is being covered by the students and teachers themselves and through donations from two members of the National Assembly.
In Uganda, the group will visit places of interest, especially nature reserves in the area and also participate in a debate about wetlands as well as take part in tree planting activities. A cultural evening is also on the programme where Ugandans can get a taste of Seychellois culture and vice versa.
“They will have the opportunity to attend classes there and as such their knowledge will broaden. The students will also be in a better position to understand how things are done in Uganda,” said Buluma.
Once back in Seychelles on August 23, the students are expected to make a presentation with the staff of the school and then to pupils to share their experience. An exhibition will be organised to showcase the activities the group took part in.
Andimignon hopes the exchanges will be a yearly activity within the project as there are other expatriate teachers coming from Kenya, Sri Lanka, and India among others.
In the compound of the English River Secondary School, there is an area dedicated to the ‘Know where your teachers come from’ project. Each month, a country is picked and various information about it, it is placed on the board.
Discussion as to when the Ugandan group will come to Seychelles will be held during the trip to Uganda.