In the community of Limbaikan, located more than an hour by boat from Alamikangbam on the banks of the Prinzapolka River (386 km from Managua), in the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean Coast (RACCN), children and teenagers are now motivated to attend school.
Two teachers from the community of Limbaikan are participating in a professional development course for uncertified teachers that is being carried out to ensure quality education in the communities of Prinzapolka. Now, girls and boys who attend school in Limbaikan have two qualified teachers.
“Before, I could hardly understand mathematics because the class was pretty boring. But now, the professor teaches us in a more dynamic and comprehensive way so we can understand. If one day we don’t do so, the next day we return to the subject until we do understand”, says Holvin Wilson, a 13 year-old-student in fourth grade, who is highly motivated by the new method that his teacher is using in the classes.
In a discussion held with girls and boys from the community, the children talk about the importance of learning in more creative and dynamic ways, and how this type of quality education allows them to take the most of the class. “In addition to the fact that classes are now taught in a more engaging way, if one of us does not attend classes, the teacher visits our mom or dad to learn why the student is not attending. This is good because it motivates us to continue studying. Furthemore, classes are more fun than before,” says Dinolia Sanders, a second grade student from this community.
Emiliano Lorío Spellmar, the church pastor and fourth and fifth grade teacher in the school in Limbaikan, is one of 63 tutors in Prinzapolka participating in the course. “For me, the opportunity of improving my abilities as a teacher is something very rewarding, because it allows me to give a better education to girls and boys. Before, I would start my classes without a work plan, but now that I am taking this course, I can say that we have new methods to motivate the students to attend school daily and work with quality,” says Emiliano.
In a joint effort to raise academic training and improve the quality of education in this region, the Ministry of Education (MINED), the Support Center for Programs and Projects (CAPRI), and Save the Children have been given trainings to 63 teachers through a professional development course that aims to reduce the number of uncertified teachers in Prinzapolka by 33 percent. The joint project is called “Promoting Quality Education in the Mother Tongue in the Municipality of Prinzapolka,”
According to data from MINED, in the municipality of Prinzapolka, there are 78 schools across 66 communities with 159 teachers, 122 of whom are not certified.
The professionalization strategy for uncertified teachers is considered a joint effort with children, teenagers, and parents. In the course, which takes place over three years, teachers learn new didactic methodologies that allow them to provide better follow-up so students can learn and stay in school.
Although the course is just starting, initial results, which are having a positive impact on children’s education, can be seen. “Today, school is a very nice place where we as children come to learn with joy instead of being at home,” says Herzon Lawrece, a fifth grade student in Profesor Emiliano’s class at the school in Limbaikan.
For his part, Professor Elimiano adds that “many teachers taking the course are overcoming big obstacles in order to attend the classes, since the majority live in very isolated areas and have to leave their families.”
Blanca Fuentes, Coordinator of Project CAPRI in Prinzapolka, says that “having teachers who have completed this course makes a difference. It directly benefits the children because it improves the quality of their learning, as well as the quality with which the teacher relates to students, how he or she supports, encourages, and respects them, and promotes their emotional abilities.”
“As a mother of two children in school, I think this professionalization project for teachers is going to impact the lives of our children today and in the future, because it is something that the teachers will pass on from one generation to the next,” says Clara Jarquín, mother of a family from the Limbaikan community.
By April 2018, these 63 teachers will be trained and have official diplomas accrediting them as primary school teachers. With this, they will have reduced the number of uncertified teachers to ensure a better quality of education in Prinzapolka’s schools.