Kenya Exchange

Four pupils of St. George's in Kisumu and their teacher are visiting, going to lessons and staying with local students' families. In June, the Gloucestershire 14 and 15-year-olds will experience life in the East African country.

After hearing that school days in Kenya are 10 hours from before 7am, there are about 80 in a class, resources are much scarcer and parents are stricter, with 8pm bed-times, students here are realising how much they take for granted. Working with their Kenyan counterparts on paintings based on the theme of water, students here are also appreciating how lucky they are to rely on supplies here. And with this being the visitors' first trip beyond Kenya, they're also realising how privileged they are to have foreign holidays.

Newent teacher Vanessa Taylor, who explained the schools first formed a partnership in 2002, believes students of both nationalities learn a lot from it. She said: "They've discussed the differences in their schools and communities but the exchange has really highlighted that the students have more similarities. At the end of the day, teenagers are teenagers and it's great to see them laughing and joking".

Her African counterpart, David Omollo, said: "We talk of the global village and learning how to socialise with people of another country is key. The students might one day work with people of different languages, cultures and philosophies, they need to learn to think outside their borders and to understand team-work, and this is helping them do that".

Mr Omollo, who is impressed not just by the IT here but the amount men do around the house, added: "I have seen how married couples work together here, including men doing the cooking; men wouldn't enter the kitchen in most communities at home, although they would be expected to put up a house".

Newent Community School student Nieve Mullins said: "Every Friday I can have a friend round if I want but my Kenyan friend has never done that, she's got three younger siblings to look after. It makes me realise how much stick I give my mum. And they do 10-hour days while I whinge enough about six!"

Newent student Mark Edwards, also Year 10, said: “It’s really interesting to find out how they live in Kenya, their day is so much longer, 6.45am until after 5 o’clock and they have more maths, English and science”.

As well as going to lessons, the students have visited tourist sites such as Gloucester Cathedral, Dean Heritage Centre and in London; thanks to the exchange, they've also experienced flying and a swimming pool for the first time.

The photo shows Mr Phillips, Vice Principal, accepting the generous gift from St George's School which is on proud display in the main reception.


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