Two teachers from Oban High School have just returned from a trip to Malawi during the October holidays, having established a partnership with a secondary school there as part of Connecting Classrooms - a global education programme.
Iain Fulton and David Duncan spent time at Mazozo Community Day Secondary School to develop extra-curricular links between the two schools and looks at ways they can work together to create unique learning and cultural experiences which will benefit pupils on both sides of the globe.
Funded by the British Council, the trip enabled the teachers to share their own teaching experiences with the Malawi pupils and gave them to opportunity to explore ways which both schools can develop a long term, sustainable partnership to benefit them for years to come.
Connecting Classrooms is a world-wide programme aimed at giving teachers and educational professionals the chance to develop classroom practices and exchange ideas with other teachers from across the globe.
Talking about the trip, Mr Fulton said: “The visit was extremely beneficial and everyone made us feel very welcome. The teachers at Mazozo are fantastic and are really up to date with the newest educational theory. They are 100% dedicated to young peoples’ learning and go above and beyond for them.”
Mr Fulton continued: “Oban High has school clans which the pupils are all members off, and Mazozo has decided to adopt the same ones for their school. Each clan earns points from sports activities and we have decided that the points from the clans in both schools will be added up collectively.
“This is just one of the many ways that we are building curricular links between the two schools and I am confident that our partnership will grow in the years ahead.”
Mr Fulton first established a link with Mazozo when the two schools began working on collaborative projects. It quickly became clear to Mr Fulton that the school roll in Mazozo was dropping significantly as a result of pupils being off due to hunger. Mr Fulton was keen to help and his class took part in a Feeding Project which enabled them to raise enough money to feed all 129 pupils who attend the school. Since then, the link between the school has gone from strength to strength.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: “This is a great example of how our pupils can work with young people from international schools to create important links and develop life skills.
“Our vision for education in Argyll and Bute is that together we will realise ambition, excellence and equality for all. We want to ensure high quality partnership working and community engagement for everyone and this partnership with Mazozo helps to do that.
“It is a great opportunity for our young people and I look forward to watching this wonderful partnership develop.”