Teachers and pupils from Christ Church Primary School and Nursery learnt about life in an African school when they were visited by a headteacher from The Gambia last week. Mr Jarra spent a day at the Ware school as part of a two-week visit to the UK organised by ‘Helping’, a Stanstead Abbotts-based charity that supports schools and communities in the West African country. Christ Church School is twinned with Chessay Ma Jaw school.
The Gambian teacher was keen to find out about the ways children are taught in this country and plans to take some of the ideas back home. “Mr Jarra was fascinated by our active way of learning; the interactive and colourful displays around the school; the fact that teachers asked for the children's opinions; and that our children were so engaged in their learning,” explained Mrs Vaughan. “Teaching in The Gambia is still very formal, however, this kind of visit will help to initiate change.”
Mr Jarra also took part in an assembly and spoke to the children about education in his home country, highlighting the differences between the lives of the pupils in The Gambia and the UK. “Some of the hardships experienced by Gambian children are very difficult for our pupils to comprehend,” said Mrs Vaughan. “There is a considerable shortage of resources; for example, it is common for six children to share one exercise book and a pen. Many children can only afford to attend school for three months and work for the rest of the year to raise the necessary funds – there is no free education in The Gambia.”
Christ Church pupils presented Mr Jarra with a cheque for £600, which was raised during the summer term following a variety of fundraising events, including a bake sale, a pyjama day, a joint artwork, a pinic and a traditional fair. The money will go towards stationery and uniform for the poorest children, as pupils cannot attend school in the Gambia without the correct uniform. “Mr Jarra expressed his most sincere gratitude to all the children for their continuous support,” said Mrs Vaughan. “The money raised will make a huge difference.” This was Mr Jarra's first visit to the UK.