Catching up with the learning

When the pandemic struck in March 2020, Burkina Faso shut down all schools. In a country like Burkina Faso, there is no possibility of internet-based home education for the majority of the population. Most parents of the students in our schools have not been to school themselves. Being able to receive home tuition is therefore not possible. At Yennenga's schools, we tried to solve it as best we could by having the children come in small groups to pick up assignments, read books at home, and get some food.

Even in Europe, where most have been having home-schooling, we hear voices talking about “a lost school year”. In that perspective, it is possible to understand what a disaster it is for these children. To compensate as much as possible, we added summer tuition. We also chose to start the school year earlier in the autumn.

The teachers have worked hard to help the children catch up. Our high school students were after the autumn term at a grade level where 78% passed. At the municipal level, the same result was 25%. Only a private boarding school located in the municipality, which mainly has students from wealthy parents from the capital, had results that are just above our high school. Otherwise, there was not a single school in the municipality that had even half of the students who passed.

At Yennenga's schools, we work according to the key words to be close to the students, activate the students and focus on language development. This in an environment and context where most other schools have classes of 100 students, where the lessons are lectures and the student is passive other than copying, and where many students don’t know the school language French when they start school. The language process in ordinary schools is often very slow because the children do not hear or use French outside the classroom, nor do they use the language in the classroom more than repeating what the teacher has said.

But the country has a new curriculum that is very similar to our work. Our schools will therefore not only be important for our students and their families, but also becomes important in the work to create toolboxes and models for how other schools can implement the new curriculum and thereby increase the quality of teaching.

We ensure well-trained and dedicated staff, who work process-oriented with collegial learning, for their own further development but also for us to be able to support other schools' processes. All students have the books and materials they need, we have a well-stocked library, where each class has a scheduled time each week. All classes also have IT lessons. The school garden is very popular! The school kitchen harvests onions and other vegetables directly for cooking, and the surplus is sold on the market. All students receive a real meal of nutritious food every day, and fruit before they go home. Any malnutrition is therefore overcome already when the children start preschool. In addition, we also have school health care, regular dental health check-ups and care if they become ill or injured.

This week we have end of the year-festivities at the schools and our teachers' Facebook accounts are filled with happy pictures of children reading poems, singing songs and performing dances, and the teaching teams dressed up and celebrating with our students!

If you do not already do so, feel free to follow us on facebook and instagram to continuously get nice pictures from the activities! If you want to become a school sponsor you can sign up on this link.