SETting Connections

To give a wider perspective, guest bloggers will appear here periodically.  For this blog, SET’s teaching mentor writes of some of the work he has done through the fall of 2019.

Jean-Paul Mlope

With the re-opening of Togo’s schools on September 16, 2019 full-time and intern teachers, principals, superintendents all returned to their responsibilities.  Although I had met most of those staffing and supervising SET schools I wanted to reconnect with them as well as to introduce myself to new personnel. Explaining my involvement in the SET pilot project for raising literacy levels always bears repeating.

Through September and October meetings were held with three key SET groups:  the principals; the teacher interns; and management from Togo’s department of education.  From each meeting I took away a positive message concerning SET.

SET Director Anne Carette in Amousime School Principal’s office, August 2019

All seventeen SET principals praised the literacy-improvement pilot project.  They readily came to the unanimous conclusion that the pilot project should be extended to all SET schools. I assured them we needed to measure results first but found their enthusiasm to be encouraging.

Rather than meeting as a group, I visited each of the 31  intern teachers in their classrooms. Observing their teaching style and their teaching tools, such as their journals and their attendance registers, showed conscientious application of what was learned in the summer SET workshop.  Each intern teacher expressed their thanks for the new, efficient system of direct bank deposit of their salary top-up.

At the management level I discovered that the previous regional director and some inspectors had been replaced.  However, in meeting with their replacements, all expressed support for SET’s work.  Not only did they believe in what SET is attempting, but they wanted me to know they were always available to help out if needed.

A poster in a SET school which translates: “To open a school is to close a jail.” Victor Hugo

My overall take-away from talking with all those involved with SET is their belief in the SET vision and their willingness to work on making it a reality.