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York School Links to World's Newest Country

Published Monday 3rd of June 2013 03:37:59 PM

York, UK - A York girls� school has announced a new partnership to help establish a girls� boarding school in the world�s newest country, following a meeting last week in the House of Lords.
The Mount School in York joins the team developing the Ibba Girls� School in South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011.
The project is championed by Friends of Ibba Girls� School, a UK-based charity set up in 2010 by Professor Jean Hartley of the Open University, herself an old scholar of The Mount, and Bridget Nagomoro, a former local government commissioner from Ibba whose dream is for girls from her locality to be educated beyond the age of 10. Bridget is the only girl in her country to have completed her education and gone on to attend university.
The charity is now in the final stages of building the first two classrooms for their initial intake of 40 girls. Gayaza Girls� School in Kampala, Uganda, the alma mater of the Archbishop of York�s wife, Margaret Sentamu, is the other school involved with Ibba Girls� School. According to Professor Hartley, the long-term vision is for Ibba Girls� School to act as a beacon in providing a successful model for starting more girls� schools throughout South Sudan.
�The intention is to create a ripple effect across the country to give girls the necessary educational opportunities, resources and teachers to achieve their potential,� says Professor Hartley. �Some students may go on to become leaders. We are not necessarily setting about to create leaders, but to allow the next generation of South Sudanese girls, whether they go on to University, career or parenthood, to have the opportunity to use their education for the benefit of their country. These girls will have autonomy and control over their lives and the lives of their families. After 50 years of civil war, this is a moment of great opportunity for the people of South Sudan, and every day counts towards building their brightest possible future.�
With construction now underway of the physical school, the charity �needed to shift focus from the bricks and mortar to the actual educational side, the aims and ethos of the school,� says Professor Hartley. The Mount, which is the UK�s only all-girl Quaker school, will provide their expertise on running an outstanding girls� boarding school while also supporting the project with guidance on governance, formulating robust structures and policies and future teacher training exchanges are planned.
The Principal of The Mount School, Julie Lodrick, today said, �When Jean first approached The Mount to become involved with Ibba Girls� School, it was an educationalist�s dream come true. There is a current trend for large independent schools to make considerable investments establishing overseas satellite schools in countries like China and India. That model for international reach may be appropriate for those schools. What is so exciting for The Mount about Ibba Girls� School is that it could be said our �investment� is the seed that was Joan�s own education. Planted back in 1968, the idea was nurtured in Jean and her fellow students that they can transcend boundaries to make the world a better place. The seed which took root with Jean will now plant seeds of its own with the girls to be educated at Ibba Girls� School. This is the power of education at its absolute finest.�
Professor Hartley said, �My own sense of the importance of valuing others, of social justice, of not being materialistic but trying to create a better society, was infused by and flourished through my education at The Mount.�
With The Mount now on the Ibba Girls� School team, fundraisers will next focus on the boarding accommodation. Boarding is essential for girls� education in South Sudan due to the vast distances students must travel to school, and the need to avoid domestic duties and the complications of early marriage interfering with the girls� studies.
Earlier last week, representatives from The Mount and the Ibba Girls� School met dignitaries in the House of Lords to discuss the project.
In August 2012 The Mount made headlines becoming the first school in England to introduce PeaceJam studies � which are devised by Nobel Peace Laureates � into the curriculum.
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