A Bridge to Formal Schooling (Updated 13.07.2015)Prototypes and Feed back
Uniting parents, children, and teachers to integrate refugee children into mainstream education
Refugee Children at Katwe Central P/S one of the schools accommodating refugees and which we are collaborating with for the Bridging Program.
Refugee children at YARID centre in Nsambya kevina/ Kmpala learning English. Refugee children find it difficult to integrate the mainstream schools because of the language barrier and the unfamiliarity to the Uganda Education System.
Bridge to formal schooling Experience Map 1
words describing our idea
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
This project introduces a multidimensional approach to promote the integration of refugee children into the Ugandan formal education system by offering 1) a specialized educational bridging program for refugee youth, 2) skills training and sensitization program for refugee parents aimed at addressing and expanding views on the importance of education, and 3) mainstream schools with the extra support they need to accommodate refugee children.
Refugee children will be encouraged to take part in our training centres where they will gain the essential skills and knowledge needed to join formal education, by nationally recognized teachers assisted by members of the refugee community and mentors.
At the a separate venue, parents of the children will be required to complete a sensitization course on the importance of, and strategies to, support their children in school. They will also gain access to a training skills courses in order to support the enrollment, continuation and success of their children in school. The mainstream schools and teachers, who will receive extra support in securing effective integration of this demographic of students.
The primary beneficiaries will be the refugee children between the ages of 6-17 living in Kampala; the parents who will be provided sensitization training and support in income generating activities and mentorship; and the mainstream schools and teachers, who will receive extra support in securing effective integration of this demographic of students with increased access to an expansion of this communication channels within these communities.
Refugee children at one of the community places the YARID Team visited during our research. These children have only access to English training but many is still have to be done in term of helping them integrate the mainstream and Uganda Education system.
Refugee parents in one of our meetings meetings. majority of Urban refugee parents rely on small businesses to make their living in Kampala, however the income raised every month is not and/or just enough to cover food and rent as priorities leaving behind Education.
This idea was built with and by the people affected by conflict themselves. The idea is to create a centre where children will be trained for three to six months, depending on the level of need, before beginning formal education.
YARID had in total 3 prototyping sessions:
Update: 01/07/15: on 29 June we first had a prototyping session with at Katwe Central primary School where we've been offered a space to pilot this project. the session was about to identify the children primary needs in the training centre, and also to discuss the support teachers need to make they work easy teaching refugees. In total 9 teachers participated in a focus group discussion and in one on one interview. we also talked to 12 refugee children to identify the challenges they face at school and their needs.
The same day we had anther prototyping session with 18 refugee parents and key refugee community leaders in a group discussion at the YARID literacy centre to identify the forms of support refugee parents need to support their children's education.
Update: 02/07/15: On 1st July we had another prototyping session Katwe Primary school where we talked to both teachers and students from both Katwe Central P/S and Katwe P/S. In total 8 teachers were interviewed of which 5 from Katwe Central P/S and 3 from katwe P/S. Direct questions were asked during an interview to identify the subjects to cover in the bridging program.
National teachers have difficulties teaching refugees because they don't understand the refugee situation but also the language barrier. Here at Katwe Central P/S a teacher trying to help a refugee children. A program which better support the refugee children and prepare them for the classroom would allow the national teachers to better do their jobs and reach every student.
Discussing this idea as a team is what has helped us understand better what we need to do to come up with ideas to solve problems we identified in the community during the research. here the YARID team in a Brainstorming Session.
Based on conclusions drawn from discussion with the teachers all of them agreed that it is difficult for refugee children to make it at the mainstream school without the bridging program. They also raised the fact that the new education system is not the only challenge refugee children face but also the lack of school fees and scholastic materials. one of them said that the refugees need guidance and counseling. only one of them reported to be familiar to the refugee issues. They showed their interest of learning about refugee experience. they emphasized on English, Numeracy and Science as lessons to be taught in the bridging program.
Refugee Children on their side mentioned the language barrier as the hardest part of being in school in Uganda. 4 of them said it's difficult to concentrate in class because of failing to understand what the teacher say while only 2 reported to be treated badly by fellow students. 1 student said she's not motivated to come to school because she may get resettlement any time.
From the discussion/interview with the refugee parents we learned that financial support was the one the majority wanted. 11 of them reported that it's only when we combine the skills training and start up capital that they can feel supported. All of them supported the idea of Bridging program saying that it's what the refugee children want in integrate the Ugandan Schools. 9 of them said they never attend parents meeting because of language barrier.
YARID member interviewing a refugee parent in Nsambya to understand the challenge she faces and the support she needs to take the children to school.
During a focus group discussion with the national teachers at Katwe Central Primary School
collecting the views of the refugee parents and community leaders during a meeting at YARID literacy centre
meeting with teachers at one school accommodating refugees
HOW IS THIS IDEA DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION (OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS) IS ALREADY DOING?
While the concept of fostering relationships between refugee children, parents and national teachers is one that is widely recognized as a need in particularly protracted refugee situations in developing countries, national teachers and schools remain rarely integrated into discussions on refugee education. Rarer still, are situations in which refugee communities are putting themselves in direct communication with national structures and offering to co-produce solutions!This is what makes this idea different from what other organizations do. YARID has direct access to refugee communities because it is an organization founded and run by refugees. (for full response please see attachment)
HOW WOULD YOU USE AMPLIFY FUNDING AND DESIGN SUPPORT?
Funding needs to be split between implementation and curriculum development. Curriculum development is important in terms of quality and efficiency. Quality because we want to develop a curriculum that can enable us to teach the best possible bridging programme. Efficiency because if we are able to produce a comprehensive and adaptable curriculum, when the idea gains broader support, it will spread more efficiently as there will already be a curriculum ready to be adapted and used. (full response please find attachment)
Amplify 'design support' could assist with the scaling up and professionalization process.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF THE CHALLENGE?
Given the current context revolving around refugees in Kampala, we are surrounded by a vast array of skills that are not being utilized. We work with refugees who have teaching skills but no where to teach, we work with countless refugee parents who have the time and drive to help their children learn but lack the means to do so, and we have an existing education system already in place. Our approach strives to connect these skills and assets with areas in which they are needed. Making the most of existing assets is approach that is also extremely important within the broader context of sustainable development.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM THE AMPLIFY TEAM
How this fits with the Ugandan education system?
YARID's training program supports improvement in the functioning of the Ugandan education system.
One of the biggest obstacles involved with policy is that bridging classes for refugee students are often considered by the Ugandan government and its partners to be special treatment, as their legal commitment is to provide education to refugees at the same level as nationals. In order for reconciliation classes to gain acceptance and become incorporated into the Ugandan education system, the Ugandan government must realize that education cannot be provided to refugees at the same level as nationals without the support of these integration trainings. Providing this support and training is the only way for refugees to obtain access to equal education. (see attachment)
For example, how are children assessed before they are incorporated into formal education?
Currently, many schools require students to partake an assessment that determines their level of education for proper class placement. We will work with Ugandan primary schools in order to synchronize our course materials with the learning standards that students must reach before attending formal schooling in Uganda. Basic education standards will be followed strictly, while simultaneously incorporating extra support through periodical assessments relating to behavior and attitude to monitor progress. Upon completion of our bridging classes, students will be given a mock assessment appropriate to their determined level, based upon the criteria currently in place within the standard Ugandan entry examination guidelines, to effectively prepare them for their placement test when applying to attend a formal school. (full response attached)
How might you align your criteria with that of the Ugandan school system?
We will use the Ugandan curriculum, collaborating with experienced Ugandan school teachers in our planning and execution process, using the material incorporated within existing entry examinations and standards. With the national teachers, we will map out learning objectives in basic subjects including speaking, listening, reading and writing. We will organize and align these lessons with topical objectives to familiarize students with other social and systematic aspects of Ugandan schools, to prevent the shock and stress that often is associated with entering an unfamiliar environment.
SKILL SHARE (optional)
For the last 7 years YARID has supplied support for refugees in Kampala through different avenues. We have a proven track record for providing non-formal education programs for refugee children and adults, teaching English to those coming from non-English speaking countries, providing basics of reading, writing and business. YARID has acquired the proven capacity to successfully impact this field, and we believe in the great potentiality and benefit from collaboration with national educators.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
We are an Organization, the Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) is a refugee led Organization based in Kampala Uganda with the mission of empowering refugees and Asylum seekers so that they can become self-reliant, healthy, educated and contributing members in society.
A trainer teaching tailoring at the YARID women empowerment project. it's after identifying the need in the community that we decided to open up this centre where 90% of the beneficiaries are refugee women from various nationalities and 10% women from the local community.
One of the objectives of this program is to equip refugee women whom the majority are the bread winners of their families with training skills to help them become self sufficient. we expect them after the training to start their own business or get employed.
This was during the graduation ceremony of the first group of refugee women who completed the tailoring training. From the 12 who were graduated 4 opened up their own tailoring workshops and 2 got employed
IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?
Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.