By Joshua Omweno, Program Officer – Angaza Scholarship Project
COVID-19 and Educational Inequalities
The global lockdown of education institutions has caused major, and likely unequal, interruptions in students’ learning, including disruptions in internal assessments and the cancellation or replacement of major student exams. Attending and staying in school raises skills among students and increases opportunities available to them post-graduation. Yet, even a relatively short period of missed school has significant consequences on student success. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much more than a short period of disruption and, without creative solutions, it may impede many students in Kibera from returning to class or qualifying for secondary school.
Though students are facing many challenges through this public health emergency, Carolina for Kibera’s (CFK) Angaza program has supported their abilities to continue learning at home, even if they do not have access to an internet connection. By distributing revision packets, sharing online resources, and monitoring student progress through phone calls, texts, and WhatsApp messages, staff and alumni are ensuring that students are prepared to return to class when schools re-open.
Angaza Alumni Give Back
Past program beneficiaries are a special breed of people with relevant experience to support and mentor current students in the pursuit of attaining academic excellence. These ambitious, young alumni are assets in the community and have resounding hope and remarkable creativity. They have the talent and initiative to create real, sustainable change, despite living in a challenging environment, and this remains especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the Angaza program supports 77 students with scholarships and engages many other students across Kibera’s 13 villages. To support such a large and widespread population during this period, the program has drawn on its network of alumni, who have provided extensive support in reaching out to current beneficiaries. Eight program alumni have dedicated their time, four hours a day on average, to support CFK’s home learning strategy, which focuses on key subjects (Mathematics, Sciences and Languages).
Angaza’s two main goals during the COVID-19 pandemic have been clear from the onset of school closures: cover syllabus topics on term 1 and 2 and cultivate a reading culture among students to keep them engaged in learning.
To ensure effectiveness, the program has:
- Delegated supervisory roles to alumni based on village of residence and subject strength.
- Assigned the alumni a sizable number of students that can be managed effectively with weekly spot checks to check on student progress.
- Focused on tackling topical questions weekly using existing revision resources.
Through the support of Angaza’s alumni, the program has distributed more than 10,000 revision materials to 607 students, both direct and indirect beneficiaries, to date. Though they have reached many already, staff and alumni strongly believe there is still more to be done.