Sudan: 'Can't Wait to Learn!'
How over 2000 children in remote areas in Kassala are empowered through innovative learning opportunities.
Kassala, Sudan - 3.1 million children are out of school in Sudan, many live in remote areas that are far from traditional educational facilities.Through the 'Can’t Wait to Learn' Programme, UNICEF and partners aim to explore alternative innovative ways of reaching marginalized hard to reach children to traditional education methods. The project uses education technology as part of a model of education, which is offering certified curriculum level content through applied gaming and personalised pupil engagement.
The programme uses a range of innovative, results focused approaches: combining context specific applied gaming and community-based facilitation instead of waiting for formal schools to be built; a strong innovation management staged approach to growth with rigorous appropriate research; and focusing on getting the right partnerships in place.
The overall goal of the initiative is to develop a viable, scalable education alternative that is suitable for conflict-affected children, girls and children with disabilities currently excluded from the traditional education model. This requires that the model:
- Uses an effective distribution approach which facilitates access for minority groups including girls.
- Has strong learning outcomes which allow for the eventual transition of children to the formal education sector.
- Cost-effective at scale.
- Has a robust partnership model which includes the involvement of all relevant state and non-state education sector actors.
The first phase of the 'Can’t Wait to Learn' programme in Sudan started in 2014 focusing on a numeracy trial with a project called e-Learning Sudan (eLS), in partnership between UNICEF, War Child Holland, Ahfad University and the Ministry Of Education (MoE).
The eLS uses an applied mathematics game using a tablet, solar power and community facilitators to bring education to children directly in the villages where they live. Local facilitators are trained in child-friendly approaches and technical aspects of the game and the tablet.
The trial has been accompanied by rigorous research and monitoring. Results show that children who have previously been excluded from education can learn mathematics faster and achieve better results using tablet-based technology than through the traditional non-formal education model. Throughout their engagement in the project, individual child progress is tracked and recorded on the tablets and through periodic testing.
In Kassala, UNICEF and partners provided 33 facilitators with 10-days training package on e-Learning, positive parenting, life skills, and positive discipline on daily teaching. These facilitators, after the training, are expected to support approximately 2000 boys and girls from 23 remote villages in Kassala on their exciting journey of learning to use tablets, life skills sessions and recreational activities.
With funds from War Child Holland, this training is part of a series of activities. These include the establishment of an e-Learning unit within Kassala’s Ministry of Education; identification of children who have no access to education and are out of school due to absence of educational opportunities at their communities. Moreover, these will include interactive orientation and mobilization sessions with their communities, and the establishment of e-Learning centers in 23 communities which are currently on progress.
UNICEF and War Child Holland aims to reach 35,000 out of school children in Kassala State in the coming three years, including girls.