School to switch off power for Rwanda

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A SCHOOL, which is among a group welcoming teachers from Rwanda, will go ‘unplugged’ and switch off its power to emulate conditions in the African nation.

St Edmundsbury Primary is to have a day without electricity as part of its eco week at the start of November – a move inspired by the plight of many Rwandan children, who are taught in schools devoid of power.

Jo Lundy, head at the Bury St Edmunds school, said: “It will be very interesting to see if we can cope without electricity. I’m not going to have a computer for a day. It will be with the exception of the cook, so the children can still have hot meals.”

It will follow a visit by eight Rwandan heads and teachers from the Nyamesheake region to seven schools across West Suffolk for a week starting from tomorrow to learn about the county’s education system.

Those involved are St Edmundsbury Primary, Riverwalk School, Horringer Court Middle, Thurston Primary, Thurston Community College, Mildenhall College and Risby Primary.

Mrs Lundy said: “They will get a good understanding of how education is here and see if they can take anything from our schools back to Rwanda with them.

“It’s reciprocal so we will get a wider understanding of how education is very different for children around the world. It will be interesting from the children’s point of view for them to learn how little resources they have to teach with.”

As well as spending their time in schools, the Rwandans will visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral, St Edmunds Catholic Church, London, Norwich and enjoy fish and chips in Felixstowe.

They will take part in punting in Cambridge and have a tour of the Greene King Brewery, in Bury.

All of the teachers will visit Riverwalk School as Rwanda is looking at how children with severe disabilities can be included in mainstream education.

Teachers from Suffolk visited their Rwandan counterparts earlier this year and it is hoped that the work will continue. It completes a round of funding from the British Council to allow the visits.

St Edmundsbury Primary originally missed out on funding but have since been awarded money and can carry on their work with their Rwandan school, G S Gisakura, for another year.