Small positive changes will lead to a big improvement in the future

In Kotido District, UNICEF is supporting teacher trainings focusing on literacy and numeracy for lower primary, to support effective learning of pupils, as a part of the Irish Aid-funded programme.

After the trainings, there are many positive changes happening, Innocent Opio, a teacher of P3 at Nakwakwa primary school, said.

Nakwakwa Primary School is located in Kotido District, in Karamoja sub-region.

Opio joined Nakwakwa Primary School this year from another school. Since he used to teach mainly for upper primary (P5 to P7) in his previous school, teaching P3 students was a new challenge for him.

It was very different, but I participated in a training on early grade reading, and that was very helpful for me, he said.

He also said that children are able to learn more easily because they now have textbooks in the local language. Since these books in local languages are very simple and easy to be used, they are supporting teachers to teach their children more effectively.

Opio also mentioned that his colleagues and the Deputy Headteacher have supported him very much. Especially with teachers of P1 and P2, they have had time to share their experiences and skills to improve their lessons. This sharing time contributes to ensuring continuity of children’s learning and smooth transition from P1 to P3. Team work is our core value in this school, Emmanuel Ochero, Deputy the Headteacher said. In this school, support supervision is regularly conducted and based on the results of the supervision, mentoring sessions are also held to discuss the progress and challenges that teachers have.

In his class, Opio was conducting an English lesson in an interactive way. Based on what he learned at the UNICEF-supported trainings, provided enough time to the pupils, to practice pronouncing English words correctly as well as constructing sentences. Another characteristic of his lesson is that he does not deny children’s answers. This attitude seemed to let the children relaxed and promote them to learn collaboratively. In the lesson, the pupils helped each other especially when their peers got stuck at a certain point.

Now, there is a lot of interaction among the pupils and this creates a lot of interest in the lessons, Opio revealed.

In Karamoja, many children in upper primary were not proficient in literacy and numeracy contributing to an increase in dropouts and repetition of classes. The completion rate of primary school was also very low, on average 14 per cent, in 2014.

To improve this situation, UNICEF with support from Irish Aid supported trainings of teachers in lower primary in early grade teaching of literacy and numeracy as well as implementation of thematic curriculum to boost the numeracy and literacy skills of the pupils especially for pupils in P1 to P3.

Source: UN Children’s Fund