Today was the five times table. We counted it out with fingers, compared it with the tens (almost everyone knows their tens), high-fived our way around the class, drew round hands on the beautiful new bright sugar paper we were donated this week (thank you, Frankie; thank you Jacqui and Sue for bringing it over from England for us!), and checked it out on the number line. We counted up and we counted down and we did it all with a particular urgency. Because next Friday the children go before The Commission.
I don’t really know what The Commission will look like, but the one thing I’ve been told they will ask the children is a recitation of the multiplication tables.
The Commission is the result of the meeting I attended on Wednesday to draft an action plan for registering our children in school. It’s the result of the meetings and lobbying and emailing we and many others have been doing for some weeks. And, with the Commission, it feels like at last we are getting somewhere in registering these children for school.
Wednesday’s meeting was with a representative of the Ministry of Education and the Municipal Education Director in Fushe Kosove, and the valiant Education Officer from Unicef. At the meeting it was agreed that the school in Fushe Kosove would set up a Commission and that next Friday all the children from our school would go, Oliver Twist-like, before this board, and be individually assessed. The Commission will identify which class each child’s current attainment equips them for, and then they will register them for that class. All this will be done before 20 July; it’s dizzyingly soon.
When the children came into class yesterday I announced the news: we’ll all be going to school next Friday. They cheered – and I got goosebumps.
I don’t quite know what Mr Bumble is going to ask these children on that Friday; I hope he doesn’t mind that we’ve set the two times table to music. But I reckon he could throw out any x5 question he likes and the children in class today would impress him.
Gjelane’s story is now told in a book published as The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo (Elbow Publishing, 2015) and available on Amazon