Tuesday, 29 September 2009

E P Jandari - my smallest state school

Jandari is my smallest state primary school, with just under a hundred pupils in two shifts, morning and afternoon. It has been started to relieve pressure on Rutongo school which is a big primary of 1080 pupils in the wilds of Kabacuzi. Jandari is run as an "ecole satellite" of Rutongo. This picture is looking up into the mountains towards Jandari from the edge of Rutongo's playground. Although we are well into the rainy season the morniungs are often sunny and extremely hot, as you can tell from this picture!

This is a good example of a common economy measure when building schools. The main structural pillars are made of fired brick, but the intervening parts of walls are of mud brick, and the whole structure is held together by mud cement and not portland cement. As a result the cement is gradually washed out from between the bricks by rain. The initial construction costs may be cheaper than building "properly", but ultimately it's a false economy because the structures need constant maintenance to keep them in good repair. If there's no money for maintenance, as is often the case, the buildings gradually weaken and can collapse.

Pupils on their way home from Rutongo school pose outside Jandari's one and only classroom. (The class at Jandari is year 1; while most pupils are seven or eight years old, a few are eleven or older and are only just starting school at that age).

Joseph strikes a pose by the moto. He'd just been mobbed by a bunch of girls from Rutongo primary on their way home from the morning shift, and was glad to be able to escape!

The afternoon shift lines up for the start of school. It's baking hot, but they can't go in until they are quiet and orderly. Many were late arriving. Once inside the room we have prayers for five minutes before lessons start.

Priscille, the school's one and only teacher, in action. She is helped by a teacher from Rutongo school to give her some admin time. The children standing at the back had arrived late for the afternoon shift and were being made to stand and wait along the back wall as a punishment. (This is standard practice). Priscille is very popular and when she and I did a double act on how to pronounce plurals properly, the entire class was riveted.

Half the class. There are no proper desks, just these benches. All the pupils are using slates to write on, but most lessons are rote learning.

Jandari's one classrooms is on the left. The room on the right is a parish store but will get pressed into service in january when the next intake arrives.

Looking down from Jandari towards Rutongo and the "Great North Road". This photo makes the hill look much less steep than it really is.

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