Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:04 UK

Teacher sets off to train in Malawi

On Friday, Glaswegian teacher Robert McGoldrick will be on his way to Malawi, where he will take part in a five-week education project.

Robert McGoldrick
Robert embarked on a fundraising drive to make the trip to Malawi

The modern studies teacher at Gourock High in Inverclyde has joined up with Link Community Development to work with other teachers in the southern African republic.

For more than a decade, LCD has worked on school improvement programmes in countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia and Uganda.

About a dozen Scottish teachers make the trip to Malawi each year, where they train and mentor other teachers and school staff.

Since March, when he found out he was going, Robert has been getting his pupils involved in the experience and said it has brought home for them the reality of life for their counterparts thousands of miles away.

"The kids have got right into it, because I'm going and it's not just being told something from a book," he said.

"I've been getting them to do profiles of themselves to take over.

"English, maths, computing and business studies are now working Malawi into their classes.

"When you're working with kids on a daily basis it's really apparent how much of a negative press they get but projects like this give them a chance to show that they do care about things like this and want to find out more."

Teacher Marian Gibb runs a training session with Malawian teachers (pic by Liz Charles)
One of the Malawian teacher training sessions from 2007 (pic by Liz Charles)
The 36-year-old will be working with staff in the Dezda district, where there are eight teachers in a school with 700 pupils.

"The school I'm going into is looking for training in leadership and planning," he said.

"Even things that are straightforward for us, like planning a lesson, which teachers in Malawi maybe haven't had as much training on, can make a big difference.

"Hopefully those teachers will then have those skills to pass on."

Robert will be living with a local family throughout the five weeks, which he said would help immerse himself in the community.

"It's about building relationships and trust with them so they'll tell you exactly what they need and you'll get to see the reality," he said.

"That's what I'm really looking forward to - I know it'll be a challenge but I think it'll be a really enjoyable."

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