June 19, 2019
Primary School Education
Hello. I'm Yuki Kinoshita. I've been working at an education office in Port Vila which is the capital city of Vanuatu. I came here in July in 2017 and I will go back to Japan in July 2019.
In this article, I'd like to introduce Port Vila where I'm living and my activity.
(1) Introduction of Port Vila
Port Vila is the gate of Vanuatu because it has an international airport and a harbor where some cruise ships stop. It makes this town international, but people in Vanuatu have been keeping some traditional way of life.
One of my favorite places in this town is "Fresh Market". In this market, people sell many kinds of vegetables and fruits. And, they also sell some traditional meals like "laplap". When you go to the market, you can feel the season depending on seasonal vegetables and fruits. For example, you can find many kinds of citrus and cabbages in the cool season. You can find beautiful red tomatoes in August, sweet mangoes in October and amazing tasty Pineapples in the hot season, especially in December. I have few chances to go to the garden, but when I see variety of vegetables, I can feel that "people in Vanuatu live with blessing of nature".
Another place you can feel Vanuatu is "Center point". There are Island dresses and shits which are traditional and formal in Vanuatu. People wear these dresses when they participate in ceremonial occasions like wedding and funeral. And, they wear the dress in daily use as well.
Most of JICA volunteers have island dresses and wear them. When I wear it and walk around town, people said to me "Your dress is so nice!" I enjoy communication with local people wearing a Vanuatu style dress.
(2) My activity
My office is Shefa provincial education office. I visit some schools to support mathematics lessons and music lessons. In addition, I also support the management of a mathematics teachers association.
I visit schools depending on requests and give some advices to teachers in order to improve their lessons. Mathematics education has some problems in Vanuatu. Students feel difficult to understand constitution of numbers. It is caused by some reasons like lack of experience to imagine amounts of number. JICA volunteers are trying to introduce the ways in which students can develop their numerical ability. So, I have suggested some activity and had lessons with teachers.
I've been working with teachers as a members of SEMATA (Shefa mathematics teachers association). SEMATA is the association local teachers and former JICA volunteer founded and we have been working together.
Our goal is "To make students understand mathematics more easily and enjoy learning". In order to reach this goal, we hold monthly workshops for teachers and introduce some ideas to improve lessons. SEMATA board members lead this activity. My role is to do model lessons with them before workshops. I've been trying to hand over my knowledge and skills to teachers by this way.
When I started volunteer work, I faced a lot of differences of Vanuatu from Japan. It was hard for me to get used to them. In addition, I felt hard to communicate and work with teachers when I joined mathematics teachers association. Sharing much time with them, I came to know their characteristic. We were glad to have success in workshops and made efforts to improve mathematics education together. That made our relationship good. I was really glad when I heard "I can work hard because I know you trust me", from a teacher.
My 2 year-term as a volunteer is approaching to the end. I believe that the teachers working with me will continue their efforts to improve education in Vanuatu.
I would like to make use of my experiences here to my future. I appreciate Ni-Vanuatu who taught me plenty of important things in our life.