The Hyvä Koulu -project

Hyvä Koulu (Good School) was a project that aimed to develop the educational activities of primary schools on two levels in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal.

One of the objectives set out in Senegal’s national curriculum is to provide all children with instruction in arts subjects, which is also considered one of the basic rights of children by UNESCO. Due to a lack of funds, however, only wealthy private schools can actually offer arts education. This creates inequality and prevents children from developing in a uniform manner.

Children inspired by the Finnish national epic Kalevala.

The Hyvä Koulu project aimed to give all primary school children in the Santhiaba area the opportunity to take part in arts education, vital for their balanced development, and to consolidate arts subjects as part of the schools’ curriculum even after the Finnish funding for the project comes to an end. All children participating in the project were treated equally, regardless of their gender, ethnic background or their family’s wealth. Children with disabilities were also taken into account in the project.

The project also placed emphasis on familiarizing the participating schools with contemporary teaching methods. In Senegal, physical punishment in schools is forbidden by law, but teaching is still often based on fear. The second main goal of the project was to eradicate physical punishment by familiarizing the teachers – through arts education – with contemporary teaching methods that focus on encouragement and independent thinking, and can be applied to all teaching.

Musician and worker with children Doudou Sow

Taf taf -project has earlier coordinated a library and literacy project. Taf taf also held a residency in Dakar. The residency programme was finished at the end of the year 2013. More information about the residency program here and the Taf taf -project in general here.