Over 2,000 Benefit From Accelerated Education Program in Lamwor

Kampala – Monica Aling is a 19-year-old soft spoken and composed girl who stands at 5’8ft and her stature commands attention.

She came from Kyangwali to Palabek Refugee Settlement and when she joined the mainstream primary five class, it was even more difficult for her to study. Her height drew the attention of learners in her school and she left.

In 2019, Aling heard from a friend about the Accelerated Education Program (AEP) in the same block she lived and decided to enrol in term 1 level 2.

Joining AEP was good for Aling as it was no longer about her size and concentration was put on assignments. In less than two years, Aling sat her Primary Leaving Examinations.

Aling is currently enrolled at Don Bosco Youth Centre in Palabek where she is learning construction and masonry as she waits for her final results of the Accelerated Education (AE).

Aling is one of the 2,624 beneficiaries of the Building Resilience in Crisis through Education (BRiCE) project implemented in Palabek Refugee Settlement, Lamwo district.

Started on 1st March 2018, the overall purpose of the project was to build sustainable, resilient and quality educational opportunities for refugee and displaced children, as well as those in the host communities in Northern Uganda and South Sudan.

BRiCE project was funded by European Union and implemented in a consortium led by Oxfam in Uganda with a primary aim of improving access to quality primary education for learners between the ages of 6 and 18 years in both non formal and formal education systems.

Alfred Agaba Biribonwa is the Program Manager Education at AVIS foundation an implementing partner of BRiCE project. He says the model delivery was 2 fold: delivering a 3-year condensed primary education for older learners (12-18 years) and developing a curricula for a bridging course for younger learners (6-12 years).

“The main activities conducted included among others identification of AEP centers and teachers, enrollment of learners and support to teaching through provision of scholastic materials.” He said

Speaking at the phase out event for the project held in Kampala on Tuesday, Francis Shanty Odokorach, the Country Director Oxfam Uganda said the AEP encouraged learners to transition to other education levels.

“Whenever appropriate, the AE learners shifted from AEP to formal primary section. This for example happened after completion of level one, where after a learner could move to P.4 of formal section. AE learners could also choose to move to vocational skills training after completion of any level,” Said Odokorach.

He notes however, that most of the learners chose to complete all the three AEP levels and subsequently join secondary education.

“By offering disadvantaged groups a second chance to access quality education through AEP, most of them especially teenage mothers are capable of transitioning to vocational or secondary education.” Notes Odokorach

Picking from lessons learnt from this project, Odokorach made several recommendations to government and other stakeholders.

He says for Accelerated Education to become more effective, specific interventions targeting to increase the number of qualified female teachers are required.

Odokorach also called for increased budget allocation to the key sectors of education, health, and other sectors that reduce the burden of care on women.

He further urged government to review and adopt accelerated learning for the teenage mothers to help them catch up.

On his part, Osbon Geoffrey Oceng, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner called for extension of the project to be able to benefit those that had just joined.

Osbon Geoffrey Oceng, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner speaking to journalists in Kampala. Courtesy photo

“I was engaging the Country Director that we need now to come up with a crisis meeting to engage European Union to at least extend this because this was more of a pilot scheme that has registered good results,” Said Oceng.

While officiating at the event, Hellen Grace Asamo, the State Minister for Disability Affairs thanked Oxfam Uganda and partners for providing quality education to the refugees and disadvantaged children in the host communities.

“I’m tasking Oxfam to share lessons learnt from the BRiCE project as they will be useful in harnessing government existing efforts to uplift the wellbeing of our people in Lamwo district,” Said Minister Asamo.

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