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Impington Village College

Ethiopian Leaders Visit

The biggest challenge was the cold......

When the four colleagues from our partner school Ada'a Model Secondary School in Bishoftu, Ethiopia stepped outside at Heathrow on a cold, wintry morning in January, they started shivering immediately and exclaimed “Oh, it's so cold!”

Apart from this initial shock, their one-week visit to IVC was a great success and a dream come true for the Year 12 and Year 13 students who had been fundraising for almost three years and with the help of a British Council Connecting Classrooms Grant made the visit possible for Mr Abdi, Head of Ada'a Model, Mr Ebsa, his Deputy, Mr Amanuel Bulch,  School Inspector for the whole of Bishoftu and Mrs Lensa, coordinator in Bishoftu for Link Ethiopia, the charity organisation IVC works with in Ethiopia.

The purpose of the visit was two-fold: the sharing of teaching and learning practice with the Ethiopian colleagues as well as the discovery of a different country and a different culture by IVC students and staff.

The four visitors observed lessons in English, Maths and Science and, together with IVC colleagues, planned and jointly delivered sessions on Gender Equality.  Mr Abdi gave a moving account about the challenges the girls in his school still face if they want to enter education: from a five to seven mile walk to school to having to help in the family, thus often not able to complete homework. Together with the students the importance of human rights in relation to gender equality was explored and the responsibility each of us has as a citizen.

In the four House Assemblies Mr Abdi in conversation with Mr Kelsall, IVC Principal, illustrated how acutely aware his Ethiopian students are of the chances education will give them and their desire to learn despite the lack of facilities and resources.  Some of the IVC students remarked at the end “we are quite lucky, aren't we?”

Apart from gaining detailed knowledge about our partner school, we at IVC learned to sometimes slow down our hectic pace of life and to face challenges with a smile, a friendly gesture and a sense of humour.

Anna Marcus-Parker