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Catch-up Clubs to Stop Children Dropping out After World’s Longest School Closure

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As schools begin to reopen across the country, it is critical that all girls and boys have access to the support they need to return to the classroom successfully.

LONDON, UK, January 10, 2022 / APO Group / –

Children in Uganda are returning to classrooms today as the world’s longest school closure ends, but learning loss can lead to high dropout rates in the coming weeks if urgent action is not taken, Save the Children said.

In March 2020, all schools in the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Uganda has kept schools fully or partially closed, suspending the education of some children for 83 weeks.

Last November, Save the Children revealed that up to one in five children in fragile countries, including Uganda, had dropped out of school due to rising poverty, child marriage and child labor, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The agency now warns of a “second wave” of dropouts, as returning students who have fallen behind in their learning fear they will have no chance of catching up.

To address the learning crisis in Uganda, Save the Children has launched Recovery Clubs, an innovative approach to accelerate the recovery of learning lost during the pandemic and help children return to school successfully.

The clubs test children and teach them to the level required to help them regain literacy and other learning, with support for child protection and cash assistance for families struggling to send them to school.

Despite efforts to provide remote learning, many children were unable to access online lessons during the pandemic because they did not have a computer or a poor internet connection.

Recovery Clubs provide the boost vulnerable students like 11-year-old Ben * need to avoid having to repeat a year or drop out of school forever.

“* Before joining Catch-up Clubs, I didn’t know how to use letter sounds. I was [confused] for very long words [in books]”explained Ben, who is enrolled in a recovery club in Wakiso, Uganda.” * The games and songs helped me learn to pronounce and read long words. Now I can understand those words every time I find them in my homework and in my storybooks. “*

Make-up clubs are specifically geared toward children falling behind in grades 3-5, when their learning can be sped up relatively easily. After about 12 weeks, at least 80% of the participants can read and write at a level that allows them to learn independently.

Edison Nsubuga, Director of Education for Save the Children in Uganda, said:

“As schools begin to reopen across the country, it is critical that all girls and boys have access to the support they need to return to the classroom successfully.

“Many children have fallen behind in school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children who are behind in their learning are less likely to unlock their potential as adults. However, when children are given the learning boost who need and have access to quality education, can reach their full potential.

“The Catch-up Clubs program is a holistic approach to education that benefits all levels of the community. The clubs have been a lifesaver for many children in Uganda, while most schools were closed for almost two years. Without the clubs, some of these kids may not go back to school today. “

Save the Children has also been working with the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports to encourage families across the country to prepare and bring their children to school, including pregnant girls and teenage mothers.

Together with Uganda and Colombia, Save the Children plans to launch Recovery Clubs in Myanmar, Malawi, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria in the coming months, with other countries to follow in an effort to reach more than one million of children by the end of 2022.

As schools begin to reopen in Uganda and other parts of the world, Save the Children is calling on governments and donors to support the return to school of all children, ensuring that families and teachers are supported to make up for lost learning and rebuild better and more resilient. education systems The organization also calls on governments to keep learning alive through inclusive distance learning if schools close their doors again.

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