Accelerating education for refugee children in Egypt
Making up for the learning loss caused by school closures during COVID-19 pandemic
The students from St. Lwanga School are playful and confident. They speak proficiently in Arabic, talking about school, their friends, and their ambitions when they grow up.
During COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers from the South Sudanese refugee community did not have the devices or the connection required to continue schooling online. The result was severe, leading to learning loss for primary grade students in foundational Arabic literacy and numeracy.
To address the problem, with thanks to the generous contributions from the European Union, UNICEF and partners developed and implemented a Learning Recovery Programme. The programme is designed to equip teachers with strategies and techniques to identify learning gaps and remedy them inside the classroom.
Two years since the end of lockdowns in Egypt, both students and teachers are back on their feet and sprinting ahead.
“Using the techniques taught by the Learning Recovery Programme, I have noticed that the students have a newfound creativity and curiosity to learn” said Elia, a 28-year-old law student turned teacher. “The new teaching methods mean that the students are not just recipients of knowledge. Classes are now a two-way street. It is more interesting for students and has accelerated their learning.”
Magor expressed his gratitude for the training opportunities provided to them. “It was a win-win solution for us. For the teachers, it was a capacity building exercise, and for the students, it made sure that no one was left behind in their education.”
Through the Learning Recovery Programme, teachers are trained to accelerate learning to make up for the years lost to the pandemic in addition to the lessons students need to keep up with in the current grade.
Judith is one of the five teachers from the St. Lwanga School that participated in the Learning Recovery Programme. After attending the three-day training in November 2022, they received on-going coaching for specific needs and gaps during the eight-week programme rollout period. “Previously, we were used to traditional ways of teaching. Coming back to school from COVID-19 lockdowns, the new teaching techniques enabled us to be more engaging with students” said Judith, an Arabic and Mathematics teacher.
The disruptions to learning they endured have not dampen the big plans the children have for their future. Malaaz, age 11, wants to be an architect so that she could build homes for the homeless.
Their dreams are big, and their drive is strong. All that’s left is to equip them with the skills and knowledge, and to address the learning loss caused by the global pandemic to make their dreams come true.
The Learning Recovery Programme is funded by the European Union to support access to basic education and child protection services for refugee and migrant children, their families, and other vulnerable populations in Egypt. The Learning Recovery Programme aims to train 200 teachers in order to reach 4000 students.