School started a bit late because of Covid. RTR lessons now in full swing…
Thanks to a donation from a supporter in Oxford we are delighted to announce that RightToRead has been launched at 6 more schools with over 2000 Junior Secondary pupils in total, 60/40 boys and girls, at a cost of under £1 per student.
David Sandi and the team in Sierra Leone brought these schools online. That involved buying and setting up a laptop & TV at each school, installing and configuring ReadToMe™ software on the computers and training the teachers in the use of the software at each school. Well done everyone, especially in the current COVID situation with school closures and delays in examinations.
For the sharp eyed amongst you – the missing school from the pictures above is Jaiama Secondary, we don’t have a photo of them as yet.
Word of the success of RightToRead has spread – many other schools in the area are eager to join the programme. We’re held back by money – we need to purchase the equipment for each school – but we’ll get there.
[From David via WhatsApp]
ASSESSMENT OF THE RTR CLASSROOM AT IAMTECH. RTR SOFTWARE NOW INSTALLED ON DEDICATED RTR COMPUTER.
CONVID OUTBREAK AND CONTINUED INABILITY OF MINISTRY OF EDUCATION TO PAY SECOND TERM FEES SUBSIDIES HAS STALLED PROGRESS AT SLMB AND CKC. PROGRAM WILL RESUME UPON CESSATION OF PANDEMIC.
MR SESSIE SETTING UP THEIR COMPUTER IN THE PICTURE
Thanks to a grant from The Casey Trust we were able to start RightToRead at UMC Girls school in Koidu with 240 girls in Junior School classes JSS 1, 2 & 3. School (and consequently RTR) started late last year due to a shortage of teachers with classes starting in October rather than September. Each class has 4 English lessons per week, 2 of which were RTR lessons. The graph below shows the dramatic improvement in pupils’ English results in a start and end-of-year assessment that we run. The assessment focuses on reading, pronunciation, comprehension and vocabulary.
We delivered RightToRead at UMC at a cost of just over £5 per student per year.
There are many more schools interested in running RightToRead. But we don’t have the money! We can bring a school online for about £1,000 – that could mean improving English for a few hundred children!
From Mr Henry Gboria and Mr Kpaka, RTR / English teachers.
- We have noted the trend for pupils to speak more often in English to their friends continues. This has resulted in an on- going improvement in their pronunciation of English words.
- The pupils retain their eagerness to complete their text book. A new phenomenon is they want to do so at a faster rate thanks to Rtr.
- JSS 3 are particularly happy with their classes as the interactive nature of the Rtr software makes the topics more interesting.
- LUCY has been credited by the children for improvement in their pronunciation. This has reduced their fear of speaking in public.
- Many more parents are displaying their interest in the programme.
- We shall be conducting the final assessments at the end of June. This will be accompanied by an end of year performance report on ability and level of understanding.
As we enter the festive season we’re coming to the end of another eventful year.
The efficacy of the RTR programme, as an accelerated English language learning tool, has been proved beyond doubt since its inception as a pilot in Ahkom school back in 2015/16. This is evidenced by the fact that the junior secondary school class of that year, now just sat to their BECE, have achieved a 99% pass rate in Language Arts in the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) – for the first time. BECE pass qualifies a pupil to progress onto senior secondary level one. The 1% failure actually stems from the standard practice by the West African Examination Council of awarding to a school an automatic failure grade for any pupil whose name was forwarded but failed to sit to the exam. Irrespective of cause.
This academic year witnessed the expansion of RTR to UMC girls secondary school. Thanks to receipt of much needed funds from the Casey Trust.There were a few initial hiccups but the programme is now back on track.
A number of other schools have been clamouring for RTR but financial contsraints have posed a significant barrier to expansion. This mainly in respect of acquisition of necessary equipment like computers, tv/projector, generator and the like. A reality that led to consideration of alternative strategies, such as first expanding into schools already in possession of their own equipment. SLMB school in Kono and Elbethal in Freetown are earmarked for this option. Others who heard the RTR publicity are gearing up for 2019.
Active consideration was also given by LSL to the possibility of taking RTR to the wider Sierra Leone public and to neighbouring countries, on a fee paying basis. These considerations were taken on board by the in-country Africa team. 2019 will see progression in the first case with paid for evening classes commencing at Ahkom school. In the second case the Director is just back from a very successful trip in neighbouring Guinea, a former French colony, where the thirst for English language learning is at fever pitch. RTR has teamed up with A+ English Language tuition and a Guinean school to realize this initiative early 2019. But necessary steps such as staff recruitment, purchase of equipment, assembling learning materials (the LSL team has held positive discussions with English Helper in this regard) must happen sooner than later. Which is why the Africa team has formally requested assistance from LSL to secure a small start up loan that will can be repaid from fees collected.
RTR is on a positive up- swing and there should be no turning back. As seen in the case of Ahkom school where RTR classes have helped to secure what may justifiably be viewed its first 100% pass rate in BECE English language, RTR is set to do more on this continent in the widespread promotion of English language.
It is in this vein we appeal to prospective donors to assist the small but hardworking Love Sierra Leone team which pioneered this wonderful initiative, supported all the way by the online English language service provider – English Helper.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy new year.
Komba David Sandi
Thanks to a grant from The Casey Trust we have started RTR at UMC Girls school in Koidu for 350 girls in JSS 1, 2 & 3. Instead of a projector we are using a 42 inch TV to display ReadToMe lessons. Hopefully a TV will be more reliable than a projector & speakers, also easier to move around if needed. Great job by David and the team for setting everything up.
Just completed the 3rd year of RightToRead at Ahkom school. RTR is now nicely embedded in the school and runs without major hitches. A big thank-you to the staff who keep it running smoothly – Mr Sessie for his IT support, Mr Aruna and Mr Kaindaneh, the English teachers who run RTR classes.
The graph below shows the start- and end-of-year class average English marks. Well done to all the students!
On a sad note. Bema Senessie started JSS 1 in 2017. She got ill and passed away earlier this year. She died of a simple illness that went untreated because her parents could not afford hospital costs. Bema got 50% in her start-of-year assessment.