News Story

Helping Young Ni-Vanuatu Succeed in Schooling and in Life

Visiting leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon and Sister Joy D. Jones paid a visit to English and Mathematics after-school classes run by the Church in Port Vila, Vanuatu on Tuesday 13 November.

They were able to see first-hand how the classes are run.

The visitors were impressed with the lightning-speed at which the maths students were able to solve complex problems.


Elder and Sister Collett from Albuquerque, New Mexico in the USA have just one month left of their 18 month mission for the Church. They teach these extra classes.

Elder Collett explained to the visitors how they work closely with the school curriculum and try to stay just a little ahead of what the children learn in class. “This helps to create academic confidence in the students,” he said.

He encourages children who have successfully solved the maths problems he sets in class to find another child and help them to understand how to arrive at the correct answer—a kind of study-buddy system.

The maths class is a lively affair and students are friendly but competitive. The Colletts treat the children to seasonal fresh fruits after class. The whole experience makes learning in this way a lot of fun.

Since the programme was initiated there has been a significant improvement in school grades with more and more children passing exams with good grades.


Elder Ardern, a former high school principal himself, added his encouraging words to those of Sister Cordon and Sister Jones, explaining how important gaining a good education is—with focus on both spiritual education and academic education.

Sister Collett said: "It's so rewarding to be part of this work. The children are not compelled to come to these extra classes, but twice a week they come for a one hour class. I've learned to love these children like my own. They love to learn!"

Replacement teachers for the Collett's—also senior Church missionaries—will work to continue helping these young bright minds stay up to speed with their school curriculum.

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