Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Lugungu and School Support Initiative in Buliisa – Phase 2 (LaSSIB-2)

P2 Learners in Masindi

To improve the quality of education, this project focuses on improving reading in the mother tongue in the early grades and enhancing the management and functionality of schools using Link’s innovative School Performance Review (SPR) process. Learner outcomes will be tested using the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). This project also aims to raise awareness of the value of reading among wider school communities in Uganda, particularly supporting the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sport’s (MoES) initiative to teach in the learner’s mother-tongue.

 

Funder: Trust Africa

Total Funding: $90,000

Date: May 2016 to November 2017

This project is a follow on from the successful Trust Africa funded Early Learning Enhancement Project (ELEP) for which a case study can be found here.

The Challenge

Buliisa is a district in western Uganda. The choice of Buliisa as a LaSSIB-2 focus district is premised on the fact that Buliisa is not a beneficiary of other major interventions such as the Uganda School Health and Reading Programme (SHRP) or Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity Program (LARA) both funded by USAID.

The Annual (2014) Learner Assessment Report by UWEZO ranked Buliisa as 40th district out of the 80 sampled districts with only 31% of P2 learners exhibiting competence in literacy and numeracy.

Another challenge revolves around the economic life of the fishing and nomadic herding communities in this project area. Not only do families move with their cattle or around Lake Albert after the diminishing fish stocks, taking their children in and out of school, but also many families expect the older children – beyond P3 – to play a full economic role and see no value in education once the child can earn a living fishing or herding. The girls are often left looking after younger siblings, as their mothers seek an income away from home. In addition, girls are treated as ‘resources’ in Alur, Bahema and Lugungu communities to be married off as soon as possible.

As a result learning outcomes are very poor and few children complete primary school.

Project Aim

Link Community Development Uganda will be supporting the MoES in introducing a reading programme in one of the dominant local languages in Buliisa. This language will be Lugungu. Recently the spelling system of Lugungu was approved, creating a need to facilitate the development of learning materials and teacher training materials in this new Lugungu orthography. Link Uganda aims for LaSSIB-2 to effectively complement the work of the MoES in enhancing the development of early grade reading skills in Lugungu. 

LaSSIB-2 supports the MoES initiative to teach in the learner's mother-tongue (in this case Lugungu) and to use school data to improve learner performance and procedure. Link Uganda’s project will target early grade learners and teachers, school management committees (including PTAs), head teachers and parents in the eight beneficiary schools of the program.

It is expected that LaSSIB-2 will provide further evidence that supports the notion that in a limited-resource teaching and learning environment (with minimal access to commercial reading materials), regular mentorship of Lugungu Literacy Teachers and parental/community participation in the early grade reading activities is a cost-effective model which has the capacity to positively impact on the reading and writing skills, literacy levels and the ability to engage with the wider learning process.

LaSSIB-2 aims to:

  • Advance the quality and relevance of Lugungu early grade literacy skills development  in the targeted schools
  • Develop creative and interactive literacy teaching and learning methods in targeted schools
  • Raise awareness of the value of participation in reading activities among the school community
  • Enhance school management & functionality in the targeted schools
  • Enhance efficiency and effectiveness of school governance systems in targeted schools
  • Strengthen internal school systems to have the greatest impact on learner outcomes
  • Strengthen mutually beneficial Link Uganda collaboration with partners and stakeholders
  • Inform national and district education sector policies/strategies

LaSSIB-2 will be undertaken in collaboration with the Buliisa District Education Office (DEO), the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), and the Lugungu Bible Translation and Literacy Association (LUBITLA), an affiliate of Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and the Lugungu Language Board (LULABO). This collaboration will result in significant shared resources and expertise which will contribute towards the sustainability of the project’s innovative interventions.

The findings and the lessons from LaSSIB-2 will be used to inform national and district education sector policies and strategies in the future.

Project Activities

  • Undertaking Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and analysing results. This data will provide a diagnostic baseline for Lugungu Literacy Skills development. This will give schools guidance on their priority needs for support in 2016 & beyond.
  • Early grade teacher training. The project will train 32 early grade teachers in Lugungu orthography; classroom organisation and management; managing a reading club; and local production use of reading materials.
  • Establishment of Reading Clubs and Annual School Reading Fairs. Alongside home-visits to engage parents to support reading, this activity aims to promote the value of reading in the local language amongst the wider school community.
  • School Performance Review (SPR) and School Performance Appraisal Meetings (SPAM) in all eight targeted schools. SPR is Link’s innovative approach to school performance monitoring. It helps the district better understand local strengths and weaknesses and facilitates better prioritisation of scarce resources. The community uses the data at the 'School Performance Appraisal Meeting' (SPAM) to formulate school improvement plans and hold their school accountable.
  • Development of School Improvement Plans (SIP) and District Improvement Plans (DIP). Using the data from the SPR and SPAM processes, a SIP for each school will be developed, which the local community can hold the school accountable to its targets. A District Education Conference will allow for modifications to be made to the District Improvement Plan using the data collected from the SPR process.
  • Head teacher and PTA member training. A two-day training course for training for three SMC/PTA members and one Head teacher from each project school on "Enhancing Community Participation in Education"

Footnotes:

There are 41 recognised languages in Uganda, with Lugungu having just 41,000 speakers (although this number is increasing). The most popular languages include the national language, Swahili, with 33 million speaking it as their second language, and English with 2.5 million speakers.