23rd October 2020
Over a cup of coffee quite a few years ago, Ms Pauline Sekemi and Mrs Claire Baker sat down and discussed the possibility of promoting the Swahili language in ways outside of the regular curriculum. As an international school catering for students who have Swahili as their first and additional language, the timetables in both Primary and Secondary had sessions scheduled, but had the IGCSE in Year 11 as the only formal qualification on offer. To keep students engaged and enthusiastic, we wanted more... and so the partnership with MSTCDC was born.
MSTCDC, The Training Centre for Development Cooperation based in Usa River, is a learning hub that offers a wide variety of language courses as part of it's support of civil society development. Normally working with volunteers, government personnel and leadership, a collaboration with a Primary School was going to be the first of its kind. They were as excited as we were! Together, we wanted to develop a language proficiency qualification, based primarily on the spoken word, that would recognise the skills of our students, without having to wait for Year 11. We wanted them to be tested rigorously, by a professional organisation at an age appropriate level.
In the following year, Ms Sekemi worked on the plan, making regular visits to MSTCDC, liaising with the program coordinators, exploring curriculum content and classroom delivery. They in turn, spent time within BISA Primary School, observing sessions, meeting the children and parents and structuring the assessment. With Ms. Sekemi tailoring her lessons to differentiate for those who were preparing for the exam, we were ready. Then Covid-19 came along.
But, all was not lost. This week 6 students from the now Year 7 completed the very first schools based ACTFL qualification in the country and we could not be more delighted. We are so appreciative of all the hard work from everyone involved and so very proud to be leading the way in this initiative. Ms. Sekemi is in almost daily communication with MSTCDC, so we look forward to the expansion of the program in the coming months.