We wish to acknowledge especially the nearly 2,000 teachers who have operated classes in Ethiopia and Uganda as part of Geneva Global’s Speed School Program in 2022. Through the Speed School Program, teachers receive specialized trainings in activity-based learning and student-centered instructions methods to allow out-of-school children aged 9-14 years to cover three years of curriculum in just ten months. Following, students transition to conventional primary classes, usually at Grade 4, where they tend to thrive. We call Speed School teachers “facilitators” to emphasize that their main role is to guide and facilitate active learning, inviting creativity, critical thinking, play, and collaboration. Their job is not simply to dispense information. Facilitators, along with the head teachers who support them, are truly the backbone of the Speed School program. Since 2011, Geneva Global and our partners have trained and supported Speed School facilitators to bring more than 400,000 out-of-school, highly vulnerable children into the school system where most continue to progress and excel.
Today, on World Teachers Day, we want to highlight the voices of these inspiring educators. Our teams on the ground spoke to some of our most outstanding facilitators across the two countries, asking them to reflect on their experiences and pride with the Speed School program thus far. Here is some of what they had to say:
What about your job and work with Speed School brings you the greatest joy?
My joy is derived from the way learners attend class and never want to miss a day. They are learning. The Speed School children are active and lively. The program has reduced the number of school dropouts in the community, and that has reduced the number of problems in the community. The induction training for head teachers has also widened our knowledge on the Speed School model and methods to use even in the government’s [conventional] classrooms.
– Mr. Awala George, Headteacher, Tyengar Primary School, Alebtong, Uganda
By the time these learners leave Speed School class, if handled well, their levels of understanding or potential double that of the learners in the conventional school [classroom]. There, they become the best performers in class, and this is a pride and joy to me. The holistic development portrayed by the Speed School learners both in school and the community is yet another joy and pride to me as a Speed School facilitator.
– Adokorach Christine, Facilitator, Pawel Langetta Primary School, Amuru, Uganda.
My joy comes from seeing children who were in miserable condition before becoming positively changed after Speed School… Surely, the method of learning in Speed School is good to both facilitators and learners because it is child-centered and it instills a lot of confidence and leadership skills in the learners.
– Dorcus, Facilitator, Aluga Primary School, Otuke, Uganda
My joy comes from giving… out-of-school children access [to] quality education that impacts their future education. The Speed School program has increased enrollment in school [and] equipped us teachers with the skills for effective teaching and learning.
– Mr. Emor Moses, Headteacher, Oluro Primary School, Otuke, Uganda
My pride is immense especially because children become very attached to me. They share their thoughts freely because we treat each other with respect. A non-entrant [who is] able to read and write meaningful words and sentences in a period less than 10 months is so good. I really feel so joyful.
– Lakica Kilama Kelvin, Facilitator, Lukwir Primary School, Omoro, Uganda.
My joy and pride as a Speed School facilitator comes when my learners excel and pass to the next class and remain in school. When the parents who are Self-Help Group members perform well in saving and other income-generating activities, it is my joy and pride because I know that my learners who graduated to Primary Four will not drop again because their education will be facilitated by their parents and guardians.
– Atimango Prisca, Facilitator Palwong Primary School, Amuru, Uganda.
My joy and pride as head teacher are seen when those learners who had lost hope get a second chance to get back to school. The Program has drawn the interest of parents towards the school, so they own it.
– Oywak Patrick, Headteacher, Gulu Prison Primary School, Gulu City, Uganda
My joy comes from seeing children who had lost hope in education succeed because of the well-designed methods which make learning real and meaningful.
– Brenda Akello (Facilitator Tyengar P/s), Alebtong district, Uganda
What do you find most exciting and effective about teaching with the Speed School Program?
Initially, I rejected the idea that Speed School covers three grades in ten months and enables children leap to Grade 4. Then, the Geneva Global Ethiopia colleagues approached and encouraged me to try. Slowly I realized that it is real and I was wrong. This is a unique lesson in my life. I learned through this experience that Speed school requires an open mind and courage to experience new teaching-learning approaches and activity-based learning. It is against the usual traditional role of a school director, but I take great pride in this.
– Ms. Workie Bacha, Headteacher, Alemegenna Primary School, Sebata Hawass District, Oromia, Ethiopia
The [Speed School] teaching method is a child-centered approach that supports the learners to do almost everything by themselves. The seating arrangement gives them opportunities to share and explore new ideas. The regular support and supervision given by the Inspectors gives opportunities for Facilitators to correct and perfect their teaching. The curriculum is well-designed, making teaching exciting and [helping] teachers become active while using the [condensed] curriculum. The model and methods [encourage] the learners never [to be] absent… from school.
– Mr. Awala George, Headteacher, Tyengar Primary School, Alebtong, Uganda
The Speed School class is different. It is like a market in a classroom. The first day I saw the Speed School class, I was puzzled and annoyed. The [pupils] were so noisy, and I was worried the children were disturbing the learning [process]. After phase one completed, I realized all children were able to read and write exceptionally well. I realized that children learned and performed very well. I learned that leaning is not about the length of lessons but daily engagement and enlightenment. I urged formal schoolteachers to learn from facilitators. Speed School gave me the opportunity to open my eyes to how to help overaged children learn fast and effectively.
– Ms. Yadani Bekele, Headteacher, Dalatti Primary School, Ethiopia
The seating arrangement in the Speed School class is so exciting because learners of… mixed abilities are put together, hence they can help one another. The activity-based learning [approach, including strategies] such as game-based learning, family-based learning, and music-based learning… makes learning real, so that learners relate what they learn to real life situation, and they tend not to forget.
– Adokorach Christinem, Pawel Langetta Primary School, Amuru, Uganda.
I have realized play could be utilized for effective learning. Speed School’s concrete steps during the design and delivery of learning makes learning simple for building knowledge, skills, and lifelong application in lives.
– Hasna Habib,Facilitator, Berga Sefera Primary School, Ethiopia
I found the Speed School model and methods exciting because of the group’s seating arrangement, the displays, and classroom jobs given to all learners. These make learning more effective in Speed School. I also appreciate the regular capacity-building workshops [for facilitators. These have helped me to acquire new methods of teaching, using activity-based learning and POPCI (lessons that bring local experts into the classroom), [which has] exposed me and the students to the community.
– Ocaka Emmanuel, Facilitator, Okuru Primary School, Alebtong, Uganda
The Speed School model and methods [represent] an effective learner-centered approach to teaching. Under Speed School, my role as teacher is to guide students and make corrections when necessary. I am also trained to identify learning difficulties among the learners and to cater to individual differences among learners. It brings me joy to see the way the methods promote socialization, teamwork, cooperation, and skills development among learners.
– Acen Sarah, Facilitator, Okwang Primary School, Otuke, Uganda
We hope you’ve found the words of our Speed School facilitators and the head teachers as inspiring and motivating as we do. These are the individuals on the ground who interact with students day in and day out. They know the program and its impact better than anyone. Today, we encourage you to take a moment and appreciate the teachers in your life who bring learning and joy to your children. Perhaps you can also give them an opportunity to reflect on what their job means to them. We hope you will hear the same sentiments of joy and pride that we find echoed by our facilitators, and we invite you to join us in celebrating these and all teachers around the globe today, World Teachers’ Day, and every day.