St Joseph’s School, on the island of Kiribati, fulfils a critical need for secondary education in remote Kiribati and has requested an English teacher to support professional skill development for their staff.
The school is powered by a solar generator that provides 3 hours of electricity at night and enough power for half the day. In 2020, the school expects to have 24/7 solar power. The school has 350 students each year though this number drops towards the end of the year due to outstanding fees, medical issues, and expulsions.
Remote areas of Kiribati suffer from a critical shortage of teachers, especially in English. Many teachers who are proficient in English relocate to better-resourced schools or find better-paying jobs in government and the private sector. These roles are typically located in the capital of Kiribati, South Tarawa, which is facing pressures from overpopulation. As the language of instruction in secondary schools is in English, this shortage significantly impacts the quality of education across the country.
Abaiang has a literacy rate of 92%. Of the adult population (those over 15), 19% have not attended school at all; this is a high proportion in comparison with other outer islands and particularly with South Tarawa where only 7% of the population have not attended school.
How We’re Helping
To address teacher quality and retention, St Joseph’s approached Palms for an English teacher to up-skill their staff and instil a sense of enthusiasm for teaching young people on the remote island. As both staff and students have learned English as a second language, the level of language ability is varied and teachers struggle to identify the level of comprehension among their students.
In January 2020, Palms recruited Patsy-Anne Wootton to work with staff at St Joseph’s to support the English language program through:
- Informal mentoring in effective lesson preparation and presentation,
- Helping staff to identify the level of English language understanding among students,
- Improving staff confidence in presenting lessons in English,
- Informal mentoring staff in effective student engagement and classroom management,
- Contributing to improved student and staff motivation.
Patsy will be teaching years 8, 10, 11, and 12.
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Due to Covid-19, Patsy-Anne was repatriated back to Australia earlier this year. She eagerly awaits to return to the field when it is safe to do so.
Is the Project Sustainable?
Working alongside I-Kiribati teachers and students of St Joseph’s College’s will contribute to improved educational access and opportunity in a rural, remote island of Kiribati. These opportunities will not only support local residents but relieve resource constraints in South Tarawa caused by overpopulation. The English teaching staff will have enhanced capacity to deliver the curriculum independently and be able to motivate students to become teachers who can build on these foundations.