Care learners are taking their studies International this week, travelling to Lesotho to experience teaching and learning in the country.
The group of 11 learners and 3 lecturers will travel to Lesotho spending two weeks visiting primary schools, nurseries, reception classes and running after school play activities for the children. The group will observe teaching practice of the Lesotho teachers whilst gaining an understanding of the cultural differences between the two countries and the challenges facing teachers in Lesotho. They will also spend time with the Ministry of Education visiting pre-school projects. The findings of their trip will form a valuable part of the courses they are following back at Ystrad Mynach giving an extra dimension to their studies.
Over £2000 has been raised by the learners since September to help make and buy toys and games for the schools and children they will be visiting. Learners have taken part in ironing challenges, sponsored walks, selling recipe books containing Basothan meals, collecting 5p pieces and numerous raffles and naming competitions. Also, college staff, learners and family and the parish of Penarth have knitted over 100 teddy bears that will travel with the learners as gifts for the children.
Learners have also developed a range of educational toys for the school children that will help develop their English Languages skills, learning English as a second language.
Tasha Jones, 18 and Kate Morgan, 17 spoke excitedly about the impending trip. “We would never be able to experience something like this without this opportunity the college has given us’ said Tasha, ‘Not only will we be seeing what education is like on the other side of the world but also we’ll be going on safari!’ Kate added ‘The difference in the environments will be vastly different to what we are used to in Wales, already we can see the advantages that we as future childcare staff and welsh children benefit from and I hope that I will learn lots that I will be able to take with me into my future career’.
The College has a strong link with Lesotho. Head of School for Care, Lesley Cox has made regular trips to the country since 2002, initially through the Parish of All Saints, Penarth and more recently the British Council. Lesotho does have a formal link with Wales and return trips have also happened with teachers and ministry staff from Lesotho visiting The College.
Lesotho is a landlocked country, entirely surrounded by South Africa. Currently education is not compulsory, although the Government of Lesotho is currently implementing a programme of free primary education. An estimated 85% of the population aged 15 and over are literate. AIDS also constitutes an alarming threat in Lesotho, where nearly a quarter of the adult population is estimated to be HIV positive – the third highest HIV prevalence in the world. A whole generation is being affected with many parents losing their lives to HIV leaving children orphaned at a very young age.