Serendip's Togo connection

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

Lycée de Tahoun's teachers and staff are gathered around the Togolese flag at the center of the campus. Most of the teachers are recent graduates of the University of Benin in Lomé, Togo and 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 (courses are generally taught in French), Social Studies, and Sports.
Lycée de Tahoun has 110 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. Eleven of the students currently enrolled are female. 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. Students, wearing khaki uniforms, are gathered for an assembly in the picture to the right.
The Lycée's students follow one of two tracks, designed to prepare students for national baccalaureate examinations. Students in the Natural Science track study French, Philosophy, English, Biology, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and History/Geography. The Literary track students start German in tenth grade and study philosophy intensely with somewhat less emphasis on Math and Science. To finish high school, students must pass national examination at the end of 11th grade and of 12th grade. In 1999 about 40% of the students in this school passed their exams, giving the Lycée the highest passing rate in the region. The picture to the right shows Susan as a visiting teacher during January, 2000, talking about the periodic table and chemical bonding to a 10th grade class.
Students are anxious to expand on the information and ideas presented in their baccalaureate curriclum. The 12th graders in the picture to the right were curious about biochemistry, and so Susan talked with them about this during her recent visit. Despite limited blackboard space, and some dust, the open air apatame classrooms were pleasantly cool and conducive to conversation.
Susan visited the newest Junior High School in the region in Tado, just North of Tahoun. Here she is visiting a class with the Principal and an English teacher. In grades 6 through 9 students study French, English, Social Studies, Biology, Math, and Physical Sciences. To enter high school these students need to pass a national examination called the "BEPC".
One of the highlights of Susan's visit to Lycée de Tahoun was meeting the teachers for a drink after work for a lively discussion. They asked many stimulating questions about the USA, and covered such topics as Native Americans, Bill and Hilary Clinton, "self-made man", HIV, molecular biology, the internet, television, and the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
Students and teachers at Tahoun 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 Tahoun, BP18, Tahoun, Moyen-Mono, Togo, West Africa. Susan White will be happy to relay letters or email.

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