Serendip's Togo connection

More about the people of Lycée de Tohoun, a new school in Togo

Students and Teachers at Work and Play

Lycée de Tohoun now has about 200 students divided into 6 classes (two each at the equivalent of grades 10, 11, and 12). Many of the students who attend come from other villages in the vicinity and so have to board near the school when it is in session. A minority of the students currently enrolled are female and are wearing white shirts in the photo. In this region of Togo, tradition works against sending girls to school. The Principal, Mr. KOSSI, encourages parents to send both their sons and their daughers to school. The students are pictured in their khaki uniforms receiving a donated laptop computer. While most had never touched a computer, they asked many sophiticated questions about computers and they understand that "le monde est informatisé".
Students do about 1-2 afternoons per week of manual labor following morning classes from 7AM to Noon. They study French, English, History and Geography, Physical and Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and physical education. Students in Terminale study philosophy and those in the Literary Track study German. In the photo below (Fall 2000), students are assembled around the flag to sing the national anthem and to hear the daily announcements.

Initial success in the Baccalaureate Exams has led to enrollment increases in both the Literary and the Scientific Tracks.
Year Enrollments Pass Bac. I Pass Bac. II
1999 76 48% --
2000 143 25% 0
2001 about 200 24% 22%
The Lycée's students follow one of two tracks, designed to prepare students for national baccalaureate examinations. To finish high school, students must pass national examinations at the end of 11th and 12th grades. In 1999 about 48% of the students in this school passed their exams, giving the Lycée the highest passing rate in the region. In 2000, no students passed the 12th grade exam, but the 11th grade passing rate was near the regional average. In 2001 in Tohoun, the 11th and 12th grade passing rates were 24% and 22% respectively. These values are slightly above the national baccalaureate averages.
Lycée de Tohoun's teachers share a drink following their final staff meeting of the year in Aug. 2000. Most of the teachers are recent graduates of the University of Benin in Lomé, Togo and some are currently in their first teaching position. The teachers' degrees are generally in the subjects which they teach, including Mathematics, Biology, Physical Science, Philosophy, French, English, German, Social Studies, and Sports. Courses are generally taught in French starting in the sixth grade. By chance, one of the administrators (directly to Susan's left) was one of Susan's students in Amlamé! His son is currently a Lycée student in Tohoun.
The local library is supported by the French Embassy and the local government. Students of all ages come to read and play games such Boggle, Scrabble, and Checkers. Lively competitions amongst students are held periodically. Teachers at all levels are also avid readers and encourage their students to read by assigning book reports based on library books. Books are taken weekly by bicycle to small villages to the north.
The young librarian, Mr. LOKOSSOU Messan, is very proud of his nearly 1000 volumes organized neatly on shelves . The walls were repaired and repainted last year and the library has electricity as of July, 2001. His address is Bibliotheque Publique de Tohoun, BP 01, Tohoun, Togo, West Africa. As a young student, he helped (and was helped by) a former Peace Corps Volunteer who continues to send books to stock the library.
Students and teachers at Tohoun are anxious to correspond with students and teachers in the United States. One way to communicate is via an electronic forum area. Letters can also be sent to Lycée de Tohoun, BP18, Tohoun, Moyen-Mono, Togo, West Africa. Susan White will be happy to relay letters or email.

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