In 2019 SET Directors began to implement an augmented vision for Support.Education.Togo. After building 13 schools throughout the Maritime Region of Southern Togo and making renovations to two pre-existing schools, pursuing quality of education within those schools became the top priority.
To that end in March 2019, a senior Togolese educator was hired as a half-time mentor to SET school teachers. Jean-Paul Mlope provides skills that match SET’s needs perfectly. Working as a professor of education at the Togo Normal School, Jean-Paul specializes in literacy training. His in-depth understanding of the Maritime public school system comes through his experience there as both a teacher and educational supervisor.
Within weeks after his hire, Jean-Paul set up a pilot project in eight primary SET classes. Aligned with SET objectives, he began to mentor these primary teachers in more recent literacy teaching techniques. Then, as now, Jean- Paul used one-on-one supervision/instruction as well as group workshops.
In August, 2019 three days of professional development took place off-site. Joined by volunteers, Serge Akpagnote and Angèle Aklah, two Togolese-Canadian teachers, the three undertook to provide interactive, hands-on instruction for primary teachers. In September, 2019 these teachers returned to the classroom filled with enthusiasm to try their newfound methods.
Since then, Jean-Paul has sent several comprehensive reports concerning the progress being made. To back him up Serge and Angèle make themselves available through wi-fi to give extra consultation to teachers.
In late December during the Christmas holidays, Jean-Paul held another one-day teacher workshop to further develop skills.
What of 2020? In June, for comparison purposes, an evaluation of the students tested in the pilot project last year will take place. Given where the literacy base line was, SET Directors believe improvement will be shown. How much improvement will decide next steps.
Other SET accomplishments in 2019 complement the expanding vision of SET. With the help of a volunteer IT expert, Wally MacKinnon, the SET website underwent a redesign as well as the addition of new features. Werner Schmidt, a retired CA, joined SET to volunteer his expertise with financial reporting.
Overall, SET continues its donor commitment to give every donated dollar “to the kids.” Key values continue to be implemented throughout SET’s operation. This includes at least one yearly visit by one or more directors which in 2020, Don Barclay will make. Given the hard and dedicated work done in 2019, he describes his expectations this way:
“When we started SET in 2011 we knew we wanted to make a difference for the children of Togo. As we continue to listen, to think, to add on to our vision, we see a real force for change taking place among SET schools. I can’t wait to witness the effect of the teachers’ enthusiasm and hard work on the children’s learning. Getting off to a good start at the primary level will SET them up for the rest of their educational lives.”