Well into the third week of strikes, the Form 4 students at Precious Blood (pictured below) have quickly adjusted to a student-led learning environment, and are still following their timetables for review, in order to prepare for the National Exams which they will start writing in the next 2 to 3 weeks. In the class below, they were taking up an English exercise, comparing answers and noting errors. As Precious Blood has their Form 4 students finish the syllabus by the end of 2nd term, they have been able to focus on review this term on their own. In many secondary schools however, the curriculum has not been completed and the students are struggling to teach themselves and prepare for these looming exams.
Some of the teachers are still coming to the school despite the Teachers Union forbidding this until an agreement is reached. These teachers must slip in quietly and unnoticed so as not to draw attention to themselves. At Precious Blood, a few of the teachers are paid by the board and thus not members of the teachers union, while two others are Catholic Sisters, and thus also able to continue teaching. One teacher informed me that all of the teachers on strike are doing their best to keep the students on track, often sending lessons to the school.
The situation is also quite desperate for the Form 3 students, who without teachers are falling behind on their lesson plans and curriculum. This, combined with the government ban on holiday tuition (where students traditionally did extra review at school during holidays) and the closing of schools for the March 2013 elections is leaving all Form 3 students extremely anxious that their marks in the National Exams next year will suffer. Even the Form 4 students this year acknowledge that the Teachers’ strike is much harder on the Form 3 students.
Pictured above and below are Form 3 students who are doing their best, on their own, to keep up with the curriculum. Precious Blood is one of the few secondary schools that has not sent home the Form 1, Form 2, and Form 3 students. At the school, they are all supporting each other as best they can, with the younger students asking the Form 4’s questions, and the Form 4’s using the opportunity to review material they will need to know for their exams.