New Era Schools,
New Era really is living up to it's name!
28th January 2023
28th November 2022
This past weekend saw Ubuntu’s Usawa programme return to Ntcheu in Malawi, and to New Era Schools. A collection of around forty students, staff and parents attended the second day of facilitation which gave participants the chance to imagine how the school could look different in the future.
At the request of students, the day began with a session just for them, so they could discuss their concerns with confidence and in what they felt was a safe environment. Like day one, their opinions and ideas were well thought out, considered and measured and will be an important contribution to the Usawa development plan the school will eventually deliver.
A favourite session of the day was The Model Child, during which participants had a chance to consider the students’ experience at school through the lenses of head, heart and hands. All in attendance were excited as the session expanded in their minds how learning could be done differently so that students get more opportunities to put what they learn into practice and develop as people and not just as academics!
We then watched videos of successful schools throughout Africa and considered how NES could emulate what others have achieved. Differences in resources and local opportunities were identified, but many saw how the principle ideas behind the different schools’ success could be adapted to Ntcheu’s environment and the resources available there.
The second facilitation day can be more demanding than the first because it challenges everyone to imagine a future, rather than report on the here and now. However, by the end of the second facilitation day, everyone in attendance left feeling more excited about how NES may do things differently.
6th November 2022
Usawa and New Era Schools began its journey in the summer of 2022 as the school’s current CEO, Junior Jesman began discussions with the Usawa team. These early conversations gave Usawa insights into the challenges facing the school, as well as a clear idea of the sort of school Mr Jesman wants to develop. Soon after, Mr Jesman completed Usawa’s initial diagnostic tool and this developed a deeper mutual understanding of what the school will need to focus on as part of its Usawa journey.
Andy Liles, Usawa’s lead developer, made his first visit to New Era Schools in September 2022 and spent the day meeting various members of staff and a handful of parents and students. Having heard so much about the school, seeing it in person lends a far more complete perspective of the school’s needs and challenges, as well as the potential it has to become a truly successful Usawa school. Interactions with the community also helped to shape the programme for the first day of facilitation which took place at the end of October.
Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the numbers in attendance, particularly of students and parents who were healthily represented and contributed brilliantly to the day’s discussions. The community were delighted that they had the opportunity to air their views and that Usawa, along with the school, took them seriously. Everyone in attendance found out a lot about the different views held across the community and this shared understanding will certainly help the collaborative effort which will move the school forward.