Teacher Training School ADPP Zaire
In 2001, an agreement between the Ministry of Education and ADPP led to the establishment of Teacher Training School Zaire. Funding for the construction of the school was provided by SONANGOL and its partners. The first team started in October of 2001.
Teacher Training School ADPP Zaire will soon be celebrating 20 years of service towards educational development. Teacher training, improvements to rural primary education, in-service courses and innovations in the curriculum all form part of the work of the school. Community actions complement these activities, thus helping cement collaboration with local and rural populations as well as authorities.
2020 began with the graduation of Team 2017, at a ceremony held at the school. In early February, Team 2018, in the final year of the three-year course, went to 19 rural schools to start long-term teaching practice and implement their micro projects. Team 2019, in their second year of training, combined studies and courses at the school with teaching experience at five local primary schools. They attended three days a week, initially observing and assisting before progressing to making lessons plans and holding lessons themselves. The new students, in Team 2020, combined studies and practical activities geared towards the 1st Year study trip. All three teams were affected by the closure of schools in March and the government’s declaration of a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Teams 2019 and 2020 returned home to continue studying at a distance, while a number of Team 2018 remained where they were.
The teachers at Teacher Training School ADPP Zaire organised distance learning for all students. Team 2018 was already expected to work on the 3rd Year curriculum “at a distance,” completing study tasks for evaluation by their tutors. For the remaining students, the new circumstances were more of a challenge, as explained in the report below. The teachers prepared study and course assignments, which they sent by way of internet or mobile telephone, and organised systems to help the students to study at home. The students then worked on the assignments, sending the results back to their tutors for evaluation. The school kept in touch with all the students and their parents throughout the state of emergency.
On the closure of educational establishments and the declaration of the state of emergency, the school kept in contact with the students through social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook, which were used by almost everyone, together with direct calls to the students. On WhatsApp, there were pages dedicated to study groups, where the school posted studies every week in PDF form and received the students' responses. Doubts were cleared up through a video call or calling the number of the student who needed clarification. On Facebook, there was an official school page to post announcements about the school or programme components to be fulfilled. Studies, courses and experiences continued because the teachers produced new tasks and reformulated some instructions to adapt them to the current reality. Courses were recoded and sent to the study groups for each team.
As for evaluation, the students sent their completed assignments to the teachers, or discussed them over the telephone or via video conferencing. Special actions related to Covid-19 including giving talks about the disease and how to prevent the spread of the virus, cleaning activities and the installation of tippy taps for hand washing. At the school itself, the teachers and students who stayed on were looking after the vegetable garden and the buildings. Collaboration with the local authorities continued, both on Covid-19 prevention as well as on distance learning as a solution to the closure of schools. Teacher Training School ADPP Zaire shared experiences of studying through the existing social networks. The reaction of the parents was very positive and they played their part by mobilizing the students about studying at a distance as well as ensuring their sons and daughters had access to data connections, whether on the mobile telephone network or via internet.