Bridging the Gap program” is an innovative and first of its kind project implemented in Kyaka II refugee settlement. The aim of this project is to address the issue of language, which has prevented many refugee children from enrolling in school or caused them to drop out of school. This is due to the fact that refugees from DRC are transitioning from a French to an English curriculum when they cross the border into Uganda.
Young African Refugees for Integral Development YARID in partnership with Street Child have therefore utilized the TaRL methodology in order to help these children develop the foundational literacy and numeracy skills so that they can integrate into formal education. The project also works closely with the community and other stakeholders like the government of Uganda through the office of the Prime Minister and local government, UNHCR and other education partners in the refugee settlement.
The refugee children go through a learning cycle for 6 months (1.5 months mother tongue, 1.5 months mother tongue and English and 3 months of English only) and then integrate into the formal school which the bridging centers are attached to. The children are required to attend daily literacy and numeracy TaRL sessions. The sessions are delivered by one Ugandan national teacher and one refugee teacher, who work together and use a combination of mother tongue and English to teach the children, with lessons being delivered solely in English at the later stage. The teachers focus on supporting the children to develop foundational literacy and numeracy skills using interactive and play based teaching methods so that they can integrate into formal education. They do this through grouping the children based on learning levels, rather than age or grade. This allows them to appropriately pitch the learning activities according to the children’s learning needs. Regular assessments allow teachers to regroup the children throughout the programme thus ensuring that activities continue to be targeted at their present learning levels.
Yarid has reached a total of 1,380 children between Jan to June 2022 from our current 8 bridging centers in Kyaka II refugee settlement.
Through the intervention, Yarid has learned that community engagement with the parents and other stakeholders is key for the success of the project and it has greatly improved the attendance levels of the children. Additionally, the introduction of the initial mother tongue component has quickened the learning of the children because they feel comfortable to develop these literacy skills in the language that they are most familiar with. This has also been enhanced by the combination of the national teachers and refugee assistant teachers who work together to translate the sessions and ensure all children understand better. The peer to peer learning approach has helped so many children to progress, particularly during the lockdown period when the children were unable to attend sessions daily.
Key observation is there is such a high demand and there are many more children that are unable to reach but who would benefit greatly from the support!