And so we graduated 22 new teachers for South Sudan on Tuesday 23rd April. In a population of some 13 million (4 million displaced, but with schools of a sort in the camps) they won’t fill in all the gaps. But they will fill in some. After 16 months of very intensive training, with minimal breaks, they certainly deserved to bask in their day of glory.
The training programme might not be as long as training programmes in a first world country, but these newly trained teachers will raise the standard here. For all of them, it is a massive achievement to have spent so long away from home, working at their dream, and in quite a few cases, with very little English when they arrived here.
Inevitably we had a few speeches to pile on top of those we might have listened to during Holy Week. The local lady mayor gave a memorable speech, while the vicar-general of the diocese and the governor of the state also spoke. What a coup to get him here, with his personal bodyguard!
Of the 22 graduates, only 2 are women. This is an imbalance that we are trying hard to address. Some progress is being made with 5 women in the present level one, out of a total of 26 students. However, this type of consideration should not take away from the joy of all on this wonderful day. It will live on in the memories of these fine young people for as long as they live.