Renewed hope for Ugandan pupils caught up in corona and conflict crises

March 9, 2021

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When humanitarian crises strike, children are amongst the hardest hit. And when it impacts on their education, it can mean long-term and irreversible effects on their development, wellbeing and their future. Find out how Can’t Wait to Learn, our digital-based education programme is bringing renewed hope and confidence to crisis affected children in Uganda and how scaling it up across the country could benefit many more.

Testing a new method

Late last year, Nalongo and Kyambogo, two primary schools in Uganda’s Luwero District, were set a challenge to examine the impact of a new digital-tablet based approach to improve children’s reading and mathematics skills.

Over 4 months, Nalongo Primary School would test the new approach amongst its students while Kyambogo Primary School would continue using the normal methods.

Comparing the results from the two schools showed a clear 5 per cent improvement in learning amongst the students at Nalongo who used the new approach.

Teachers put this down to the children being far more engaged with the approach. It was also attributed to the teachers’ positive attitude, teachers being able to easily support the children through the process and because of the children’s regular attendance.

Closing the education gap

The approach – known as Can’t Wait to Learn, is a global learning programme developed by War Child Holland and partners that makes innovative use of digital-tablets to close the education gap for millions of children around the world affected by conflict.

It allows children to get a quality education by teaching them to read, write and count using a self-paced digital game that specifically reflects their world and context – and which can be used at school or at home.

It has been developed with ministries of education around the world, so is always adapted to follow the relevant national curriculum and the children’s progress is regularly monitored to improve it further.

Responding to COVID-19

The Can’t Wait to Learn approach was first used with primary school students in two learning centres in the West Nile region from 2018 and was then expanded to 9 others in the region and 8 others in the South West.

After the COVID pandemic forced schools to shut in March 2020, it was distributed for self-learning use at home and in the community so that children could keep up their education.

Once schools re-open, it’s intended to be once again used in schools.

Making quality education available for many more children

The positive results of the 4-month test at Nalongo and Kyambogo schools will now inform Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) how best to include the approach into the broader education system and how to scale it up in schools across the country.

War Child will continue working closely with the ministries – and will seek support from more partners to help bring this vital work to millions more children.

Because no child, whether in Uganda or elsewhere, should be held back from opportunities to build a positive, fulfilling and safer future for themselves.