From 2010 to 2015, Uwezo findings have shown that while many children are in school in Kenya, they are not learning very much.1,2 On average, of every 10 grade 3 learners, only 3 have the expected reading ability. 1 Other learning assessments echo the same message of low learning levels. The ensuing period has witnessed national and policy dialogue that has resulted in a curriculum reform process which has refocused attention on establishing competencies in core foundational learning areas. In a bid to expand inclusion, ziziAfrique is implementing a programme that identifies children lagging behind (in grades 3-5) and, using the TaRL approach, aims to accelerate reading development.
The Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) is driven by civil society, and works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education at both national and county levels. Representatives from the Ministry of Education, and other specialised departments and teams such as the Teacher Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and the National Commission for Nomadic Education sit in the national and county advisory groups. Civil society organisations provide implementation support in the three counties of operation (Turkana, Bungoma, and Tana River).
The programme started in 2018/19 in 60 schools and seeks to accelerate acquisition of literacy and numeracy competencies amongst grade 3-5 learners who, according to the assessment, have fallen behind. This is implemented through 1-hour learning camp sessions facilitated by a pair of teacher assistants. Children participate in two 20-day camps, with a 10-day gap in between the first and second camp. So far, ALP camps focus on literacy in Swahili. Numeracy camps are scheduled for 2019.
Results from 2 camps held so far confirm the potential of the approach to ensure that children learn to read. Before the camps, 23% of children were able to read at least a simple paragraph. By the end of the second camp, 63% of the children were able to read at least a simple paragraph.
“The beauty of TaRL is its adaptability to different contexts. This adaptability should be encouraged at all levels right from the classroom.”
The Sub-County Director of Education in Turkana, reflecting on the TaRL approach.
1) Uwezo (2017): Are Our Children Learning? Lessons from Uwezo Learning Assessments from 2011 to 2015. Dar es Salaam: Twaweza East Africa.
2) Uwezo (2016): Are Our Children Learning? Uwezo Kenya Sixth Learning Assessment Report. Nairobi: Twaweza East Africa.