Could Rome be built in one day?
To-date, the largest orphanage centre in the state, Perkaya., which have its own school, have started sending pupils to Almanar on a weekly basis ,a very unsatisfactory frequency. Two groups are ferried in in their own bus every Saturday morning . I am hoping the new programme for next year will increase the frequency. I have, thus far, concentrated on teaching English, leaving other subjects to begin in January.
I was greatly surprised last week when their representative requested Pakcik’s assistance to spend one Saturday morning with their Form 3 children who would begin their PT3 ( to replace the PMR) examination , which began yesterday with half a million candidates. The children were in need of help in mathematics. Preparing children of unknown level of knowledge in half a day for an important examination was a tall order; a mission impossible. But I knew better than to decline. I would, at least, have an opportunity to assess the children’s competency in that subject before they turn up to be tutored as Form 4 pupils early next year.
Bus from PERKAYA
As planned a busload of children arrived at Almanar before nine last Saturday. Buses from Perkaya have always been very punctual despite their one-hour journey to to Almanar. So, by nine last Saturday morning, 27 children ( 6 girls and 21 boys) were seated quietly in four rows in my class. I was conscious that all the 27 pairs of eyes watching me belonged to children without fathers. It was a sobering thought and I felt grateful to be in that unusual and enviable position.
After the initial few words of welcome, making sure that they would only address me as a simple Pakcik or Pakcik Hassan, we began with Al Fatihah for their fathers and the rest.
The ensuing three hours was tiring, selecting appropriate parts ans examples. At least I know now the level of their competency; which is low in my estimation. They would not make an A grade today, but, Isha Allah, a few would in two years’ time. Rome was not built in one day.