Roho’s story - How Speed School Inspired Her
Speed Schools model offers an accelerated learning program for aged 9-14 who have been out of school.
“Everyone should go to school; even our parents,” says Roho Mohamud Ahmed. Roho is a 13-year old girl from Ifaa Primary School in Babile woreda, Oromia Region, Ethiopia.
Roho has four brothers and four sisters, who have been raised by a single mother who has been the sole breadwinner since their father abandoned them when they were very young. Roho had to drop out of school because her mother could not afford to cover education-related expenses for her and her siblings, such as the costs for the school uniforms and other educational materials. Roho and the family were displaced and are now returned to their home. Roho used to spend her days supporting her mother in different household chores including fetching water, collecting firewood, and helping with work in their field. At that time, only one of her brothers was able to attend school, and only because their uncle was paying the boy’s educational costs.
Thanks to UNICEF and its partners, however, Roho is now enrolled in a Speed School Programme. The Speed Schools model offers an accelerated learning program for aged 9-14 who have been out of school. It delivers the first three years of the Ethiopian government’s primary school curriculum in just ten months, preparing Speed School graduates to resume their formal education at the fourth grade.
Roho heard about the opening of the Speed School programme from her friends, who were already enrolled. She liked that good performers could quickly move through 3 grades, and the school feeding programme, which is part of the package, was also an attraction.
Roho and her younger sister joined the Speed School after it was launched in Ifaa Primary School in her native Oromia region, Ethiopia in February 2020, thanks to a grant from Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund to transform the delivery of education in emergencies. Roho and her younger sister are now regularly attending school and enjoying the learning opportunities that Speed School provides them.
Roho explains that she is very satisfied with the student-centred teaching methodology used in the programme, as it gives her a chance to interact with classmates and enables her to express her views in class. The programme offers her the time to play, learn, discuss, and enjoy herself with her friends. She said, “I am happy, and I decided to continue with my education, and I will never drop out of school. I am now preparing myself to sit for the examinations that will help me to join the formal [4th grade] programme in the next academic year.”
Roho continues, “We learn about the alphabet and numbers and also how to read and write. I love Afan Oromo most as a subject and I am a good performer in all subjects. My writing, reading, and mathematics have highly improved. I attentively follow my teacher’s advice and instructions. I regularly do my class work and assignments and I read textbooks and supplementary reading materials.”
The Speed Schools programme is led by UNICEF and the Regional Education Bureau and implemented in partnership with Imagine One Day; funding comes from Education Cannot Wait’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme. The Speed Schools programme includes awareness-raising activities and community dialogues on the value of education and provides school materials, school bags, uniforms, and school meals.
The Speed Schools programme enables children who have fallen behind or lost out on learning opportunities to catch up with their age mates and return to formal schools. The programme also makes use of participatory methods of teaching and learning, which promotes effective learning and produces good learning outcomes. UNICEF and its partners promote these active teaching and learning methods and discourages other methods that treat learners are passive recipients of knowledge.
Roho’s still has a long way to go on her learning journey and it will be another 8 years before she graduates from high school. She is, however, determined to continue her education, despite all the challenges. Her dream is to become an engineer and contribute to her family’s future wellbeing, ensuring that the next generation can go to school and stay there from the start.