Mayo volunteer aims to improve primary education in Uganda

Padraic McKeon, a retired primary principal teacher from Mayo has departed for Uganda to begin his third volunteer placement with VSO Ireland, the international development organisation that fights poverty through volunteers. Padraic will use his professional skills and experience to volunteer as a teacher educator in the Karamoja region where he will be involved in capacity building for pre-service tutors and students in preparation for school practice.

Padraic, a former principal of Holy Family Primary School, Newport and is looking forward to helping VSO Ireland improve the lives of people living in poverty in Uganda, which is currently ranked 163 out of 183 countries on the UN Human Development Index.

“The education system in Uganda needs increased investment in producing better qualified teachers. I hope to help achieve this by working with student teachers and head teachers in the teacher-training college to improve the quality of education in the area. I have previously volunteered with VSO Ireland in South Sudan and Myanmar and have derived tremendous satisfaction from these placements, trying to use my experience to help people who have so little,” he said.

Padraic will be joined in Karamoja by Maria Casey, a primary school teacher from Kerry who is also volunteering as a teacher educator. Maria, who will depart this Sunday, has previously volunteered as a primary teacher trainer for student teachers in Cambodia, Rwanda, Uganda and India.

Megan Munsell, Executive Director of VSO Ireland, said "We are delighted that Padraic and Maria are about to begin their volunteer placements in Karamoja. Uganda is a very important programme country for VSO Ireland and, thanks to Irish Aid funding, our volunteers are playing a vital role in improving the quality of primary education that is available to people who are living in poverty.”

VSO Ireland is currently looking for experienced education professionals, including people who have recently retired, to volunteer as teacher educators in Uganda for three-month placements from July-September 2016. For further details please visit www.vso.ie  or call (01 ) 6401060.

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