This month saw the Uganda education team launch an intensive English course for a total of 100 students at two centres – 40 at the Tamuka Hub in Nsambya and 60 in the St Jean Marie centre in Kisenyi Mengo. The course which is conducted in partnership with the Finnish Refugee Council, will roll out over four months. It will see 7 to 11 year old refugees attend class from 9am to 1pm on weekdays to learn basic English language and writing skills. The course which was advertised amongst refugees communities by door to door promotion and through agencies that currently work in these areas, aims to get students language up to a good standard so they can confidently enter the Ugandan school system. Successful applicants were decided through an income assessment. The education team procured new chairs, desk and scholastic materials for the course and hired two cooks to provide food for the children.
As part of the course there is an integration module which prepares the children on the systems that exist to support refugees in the area. Every Friday we have cultural and skill training sessions and Sarah Yates, a good friend of Xavier Project’s from the UK, will be conducting art and drawing classes with the children. At the end of each week we will be holding weekly reviews with the teachers so that we can monitor and evaluate the progress of the course. At these meetings we shall have discussions on the teaching methods, aids and academic progress.
An introductory session was hosted at the centres for parents and students so the Xavier team could outline the expectations of the course, the coursework and the requirements of the students and parents throughout the studies. Attendance was high which is encouraging and there was notable enthusiasm from the students’ families. At the end of two months we shall hold a “bridge to school meeting” with parents, teachers, children and school representatives where we will discuss how the children can enrol into formal schools at the end of the course. Currently, the Education team is holding meetings with local authorities, refugee agencies and school community committees to establish if there are any potential scholarship opportunities for these children. We hope that this course will b the starting point for the childrens’ formal education in Uganda.