New 'Global Teachers' awards will pay for 180 staff to travel to Ghana, Uganda or South Africa to give practical help to their schools. Bob Doe reports.
Teachers who are keen not just to see the world but to make it a better place can now apply for one of 180 five-week trips - all expenses paid - to help African schools improve.
The Global Teachers Millennium Awards will enable 60 teachers and heads a year for the next three years to give practical help to schools in South Africa, Ghana or Uganda. They will also raise awareness of development issues in their own schools.
The pound;1 million scheme is being funded by the Lottery via the Millennium Commission and is supported by The TES. Supply- cover costs will be paid in some cases.
Expert training and support will be provided by Link Community Development, a UK charity which has been working to improve education in Africa since 1989.
The Global Teachers will spend five weeks attached to one of Link's projects. They will live in the local community, share good practice with local teachers and support Link's project leaders in their work with heads and education advisers. Placements will be tailored to the winners' skills and experience.
Kate Griffin was deputy head at Archbishop Cambridge's primary in Twickenham when she volunteered to go to South Africa on a scheme Link ran as a forerunner tothe Millennium Awards.
She said: "It was a humbling experience and at times I was overwhelmed by the lack of resources, overcrowded and dilapidated classrooms and the poverty. But I was struck by the children's vibrancy, by their genuine desire to learn and their respect for teachers."
Now Link's education officer, Ms Griffin says the Global Teachers Millennium Awards are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop personally and professionally.
She said: "You will get a unique first-hand insight into life and culture in a developing African country in a way that is impossible through books or holidays.
"You will return with a sense of achievement, refreshed and invigorated, ready to enthuse your pupils and colleagues."
As well as the costs of preparation, travel, accommodation and a living allowance, the awards also pay up to pound;500 for follow-up work in the UK.
The TES will publish the best reports from returning award-holders over the next three years.
Applications from those wishing to take part in 2001 must be received by March 9. Link is also twinning schools in the UK with their counterparts in South Africa, Ghana and Uganda (www.lcd.org.uk).
For an application pack and more details contact Link Community Development on tel: 020 7691 1818, fax: 020 7209 4167 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org