Volume 28 No. 1 | Autumn 2018 8 Society Matters www.divineword.org.au A Newsletter of the Divine Word Missionaries Inc - Australia Province Donations to the SVDAUS Province Overseas Aid Fund can be made online at www.divineword.org.au or by mailing to Divine Word Missionary Appeal Office, Locked Bag 3, Epping NSW, 1710, Australia. svdaus @svdaus Second intake of teacher- training students for St Vincent College, Yendi The first intake of teacher-training students at St Vincent College of Education, Yendi, in Ghana have completed their first academic year and are now working hard in their second year, on their way to becoming teachers of excellence in local schools. Readers of Society Matters will be familiar with the Yendi College project, which has been featured in previous issues. The official opening in 2016 was a joyful time, not only for the local people, but for the Divine Word Missionaries, together with Catholic Mission in the Archdiocese of Perth, and other benefactors who worked with the Catholic Diocese of Yendi to help build the rural teacher training college. Principal of the College, Fr Erasmus Norviewu-Mortty SVD, says that 183 students have now completed their first academic year and 72 of those are young women. Together with the returning students, Fr Erasmus says that 158 new students also started at the College in October, 2017. “It’s great to have so many new students joining us,” Fr Erasmus says. “We don’t just take those who pass Year 12, but they also have to sit an entrance exam in Maths, English and Science and we interview them as well.” St Vincent College is a Catholic college, but does take Muslim students. “Ghana is a Christian country, but in Yendi, about 80 per cent of people in Yendi Town are Muslims, so Christians are a minority here,” Fr Erasmus says. Once they graduate, the students will be appointed to rural schools where the need for well-trained teachers is great. “When they graduate they will be approved by the Ghana Government and will be posted by the government to any school to teach from Years 1 to 9,” Fr Erasmus says. The next phase for the College’s development is to train teachers in Early Childhood Education. “We’re excited about the next stage, but there are challenges,” Fr Erasmus says. “For instance, we will need to buy early childhood equipment, such as playground equipment and educational learning tools. We are training people from the villages, so we can’t take for granted that they are familiar with these types of equipment.” Fr Erasmus says the people of Australia have been taking a lead in promoting early childhood education in Ghana. One example of this help, is Emmanuel Catholic College in Perth which has provided space on its campus for an old shipping container to house donated goods such as office furniture, printers etc and when it is full, it will be sent to Ghana. Fr Erasmus says St Vincent College is also hoping to build a French Language Laboratory, with headphones and other equipment for the students to learn French. While Ghana is an English-speaking country, it is surrounded by Francophone countries and Yendi is on the border with Togo, where the people speak French. “We think it is important for our students to learn French, so that they can teach in French where necessary.” Another challenge is how to accommodate the 158 new students who have just started at the College. The new students began their time at St Vincent College in makeshift accommodation, dining and classroom buildings, but there are plans to build a hostel for both the young women and young men, as well as a new dining hall. “If we can raise the funds to do these things, we can keep taking in new students each year and train excellent teachers for schools in Ghana, especially in rural areas where their service is badly needed,” Fr Erasmus says.