This morning I had the privilege to observe proceedings at Macha Innovative Community School, MICS. For the first time this season we had steady rain in the early morning, so it was a nice, fresh start today at MICS House. It was impressive to see the discipline of local teachers being supported by others from various backgrounds and areas from Zambia and abroad. There is a strict and tight planning, and lessons start in time and hitting the ground running. There is a drive and power in all involved that is rubbing off. Head teacher Sakala mentioned: "these children learn more then I did during my primary school".
During the chapel time, the Christmas play - to be performed 5 December - was being rehearsed. Then I visited the different grades and sat in each class for a while. During the first years of education focus is on Reading/Writing and Mathematics. This provides the foundation for further development. I observed that Grade 4/5 did breeze through a school DVD on the subject of 'paragraphs' and when probed had no problem giving the definitions of imperative, exclamatory, and interrogative questions. At Grade 3 I saw the children working on the different prefixes, suffices of words, and sentences. In Reception Class the children were at "W", almost at the end of the alphabet. During activity classes each grade worked with gusto at puzzles of different complexity.
It is wonderful to see that MICS is succeeding in integrating high quality education using local resources in a rural African setting. It was special to see how the teachers communicate the materials within the context of local cultural setting in a truly African way, which does focus on the positive, affirming good behavior and results, incorporating it all in a collaborative and inclusive environment.
MICS is currently about 50 students, prone to double at Ubuntu Campus for, say, three more years. At the same time MICS will be multiplying in the other primary schools in the area (and beyond). This will bring growing resource needs as there is an ever increasing demand for class rooms, teachers and housing, to assure quality and quantity growth both within and without the example school MICS. The current team has grown MICS from the proof-of-concept with one class room in 2006, to proof-of-reproduction with two class rooms in 2007, to proof-of-production with now 5 grades operating in 2008, to a professionalisation and multiplication stage in 2009. They have never ceased working hard in a difficult and resourced challenge area. To grow this work is a massive, important and rewarding challenge.