Twentieth Anniversary for TVS

August 2023 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the first ever Study Camp held at the Hobbiton Outdoor Education Centre in Hogsback. In 2003, just nine years after the first non-racial democratic elections in South Africa, a group of UK teachers gave up their summer holiday to participate in an experiment in sharing teaching experiences with primary school teachers in the Tyume Valley. The teachers, who were recruited through an advertisement in the National Union of Teachers magazine, paid their own fares to South Africa and were accommodated with local village people and in basic hostel rooms alongside their local colleagues.

The week-long programme covered English Language, Maths and Science as well as team building, and outdoor activities organised by Hobbiton. The children, born as apartheid ended, were nervous but full of enthusiasm. Their teachers were wary of white do-gooders but became more comfortable when they introduced the visitors to their own schools. The experience was definitely a culture shock to all of those involved but very valuable. On return the UK teachers decided to set to set up the Tyume Valley Schools Development Association (having failed to find a catchier title). The organisation has grown over the last twenty years but many of the original group are still involved.