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Lam Leone Ferem, left, JRS Lobone project director, talks with headmaster Kinyera Martin at Lerwa Primary School in Southern Sudan. “These teachers are key in ensuring the provision of quality education in our schools because they help other teachers improve their teaching skills," said Mr. Ferem (Christian Fuchs - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)

By Aling Margreth, JRS Secondary Education Coordinator, Lobone

(Lobone, South Sudan) September 12, 2011 — Seven teachers from three community-run secondary schools in Lobone, South Sudan, have acquired sufficient knowledge to help their fellow teachers with lesson preparation, observation, presentation and efficient classroom communication after participating last month in a three day workshop organized by JRS.

"These teachers are key in ensuring the provision of quality education in our schools because they help other teachers improve their teaching skills," said Lam Leone Ferem, JRS Lobone Project Director.

The facilitators, who were all JRS workers, stressed the importance of adopting a child-centered approach to teaching as opposed to the commonly used teacher-centered method. “The child-centered approach encourages students to use the knowledge they have acquired and enables them to actively participate in the learning process. It will also improve their performance in examinations," said Mr. Ferem. 

The importance of school-development teams

All workshop participants are members of school-development teams. An external evaluation of JRS education activities at the end of 2010 had recommended the formation of school development teams in all schools in order to improve teaching skills and students’ performance.

"Each team is composed of a head teacher and two outstanding teachers who will then support their fellow teachers by regularly observing and building their teaching skills," said Mr. Ferem.

"We have waited in vain for the county or state education officials to supervise and inspect our schools. Now we know how to observe and help other teachers who lack skills in teaching and we will try our best to promote positive change in our schools," said the Head Teacher of Magwi Secondary School, Oola Peter. 

By the end of 2011, a total of 43 teachers will have participated in similar workshops and apply the gained knowledge and skills in various schools across the sub-county.

In all its education programs in South Sudan, JRS places special emphasis on teacher training as a key tool for ensuring quality education which is of paramount importance for communities who are rebuilding their lives after years of conflict and war.

JRS has run a secondary education program in this part of South Sudan since 2004. JRS empowers staff at secondary schools run by local communities in Lobone, Pajok and Magwi Sub-County by improving their skills in areas such as lesson preparation, lesson presentation and delivery, class room communication and school administration management, promoting school discipline and a good relationship between the school and the community. 

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