TIES between Elgin and Zambia have been further strengthened thanks to a group of visiting teachers.
Staff from Mukonchi High School were in Moray as part of a special friendship, built up between the African school and Elgin High over the past four years under the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms project.
During the week-long trip, the four visiting teachers helped youngsters plant a jubilee tree – donated by the Woodlands Trust – at the school’s sensory garden.
They also enjoyed teaching, finding out more about Scotland, and seeing first-hand the differences in education systems between the two nations.
History and IT teacher Nkandu Ngona said he found the trip fascinating, albeit a little colder than imagined.
“At Mukonchi, we still use chalk and board and other more traditional methods of teaching,” he said.
“And here, the lessons are mainly pupil-centred; however, at home we really depend on leading the lessons.”
Art teacher Mwilambwe Fred added: “The way teachers approach the lessons and handle the classes here seems very structured compared to at home.”
Also visiting the secondary were English and RE teachers Isaac Bwalya and Francis Chizambe, who said they loved the experience.
Elgin High head teacher Andy Simpson said the visitors had made a valuable contribution.
“They’ve been in the classes working. One of them is an art teacher and, working together, we are hoping to produce a calendar of joint Zambian and Elgin High School art work.
“Another is an ICT teacher and he has been working with a group of pupils to create a webpage on 20 things that the pupils think that Zambia pupils should know about Scotland.
“The hope is that when he goes back, he will do the same with his pupils, so we discover 20 things they think we should know about their country.”
As well as visiting Elgin High’s feeder primary schools to strengthen their links with the country, the foursome also took in the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Castle during a visit to the capital.
Last October, 11 pupils from the High School were joined by teachers on a trip to the land-locked republic, not only visiting local classrooms but trying their hand at farming and being the special guests of a village chief.