Catch-up Learning Program Brings Out-of-School Children Back to Schools
UNICEF implemented a Catch-up Learning Program for 6,128 displaced children
Each morning, 13-year-old girl Jehad leaves the tent she calls home at Al-Sowayda camp in Marib Governorate, Yemen, to make her way towards the Al-Kuwait School, where she is enrolled in the Catch-Up Learning Program, that provides out-of-school children of this camp vital access to education despite the school’s limited resources.
"I came to this school after being forced to drop out last year because I was displaced and living in difficult conditions,” says Jehad, a seventh-grade student. “I enjoy going to school every day to study, meet my friends, and work on building my future,” she adds. "Activities such as drawing have helped me cope with my new life in the camp,” she continues.
An opportunity to continue education
In response to the needs of students who are out of school, UNICEF has implemented a Catch-Up Learning Program across IDP camps in Marib to give these students the opportunity to continue their education and equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary for their re-entry into formal education.
“I work as a life skills facilitator for displaced students who were forced to drop out of school last year due to the social or psychological conditions that we are in now because of the conflict,” says Warda Ali Abdulaziz Al-Mahya, a teacher and facilitator at Al-Kuwait School. "This catch-up learning program aims to support students to make up for the lessons they have missed, teach them skills, and provide them with psychological support services so they can enroll into formal education,” she explains.
Warda has participated in the UNICEF-supported life skills training program which aims to provide teachers with the competencies necessary to deal with out-of-school displaced children. “I learnt a lot of new concepts at the training, which have enabled me to help displaced children; I teach them in order to rekindle their love of education and improve their ability to overcome the challenges they face in their school, home, or in their community, so they can lead a normal life,” she clarifies.
“I decided to teach to make a difference in my students’ lives,”
Warda, a life skills facilitator
The lack of basic services in the camp, such as electricity, as well as the tent’s exposure to winds, storms, and rain are some of the biggest challenges Warda faces on a daily basis, and they negatively impact the educational environment. "However, education continues even under the difficult conditions because the school is the only friendly education space for them where they can learn as well as having fun,” says Ward.
Nasr, a 16-year-old student, joined the program after dropping out of school for a year due to displacement. “I was enrolled in this catch-up program in order to join formal education later, and I learnt how to face stress and life challenges using the skills I was trained on,” he explains.
Receiving protection services
The Catch-Up Learning Program contributes to bringing students back to schools and providing them with protection services, life skills training, and psychological support. “The program is not only for teaching students the curriculum, but it also equips them with the life skills necessary to build their social resilience and shape their personalities and abilities. It also provides them with psychological support,” says Abdullah Ahmad, a social studies teacher at Al-Kuwait School.
“I feel good when I see my students relieved, overcoming their fears, and capable of adapting to their living conditions,” he clarifies. “The activities I carry out in my class get students to learn their lessons and participate in entertaining activities all at the same time,” he adds.
With financial support from the European Union’s humanitarian arm (ECHO), UNICEF implemented a Catch-up Learning Program for 6,128 displaced children (3,423 male, 2,705 female) and it intends to reach 50,000 children across Yemen who were denied access to education due to displacement.