Keeping Pace

Keeping Pace

Keeping Pace

Many children in Sub-Saharan Africa are schooling but not learning. In Kenya, 3 out of 4 children in lower primary schools cannot read a grade 3 level text. Most of these children are from poor households. Often, children who miss key concepts in the early grades never have a chance to catch up, no matter how many years they spend in school. This affects further learning and subsequently inhibits their life chances hence perpetuating the endemic poverty cycle in families.

The keeping pace is premised on the infamous Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach pioneered by PRATHAM in India and it targets the root of the learning crisis by transforming the structures that lead to it. The approach works by dividing children (generally in Grades 3 to 5) into groups based on learning needs rather than age or grade; dedicating time to basic skills rather than focusing solely on the curriculum; and regularly assessing student performance, rather than relying only on end-of-year examinations.

The program is holistic, interactive, child-centered and focusses on the basics to improve learning for all. It seeks to accelerate basic reading and numeracy competencies of children furthest behind. It equips learners in grades 3, 4 and 5, who are left behind with the desired grade 2 reading and math competencies. This way, learners will have started the journey of reading and math and can meaningfully and independently engage in the classroom learning process.

The focus is on basic skills rather than solely on the curriculum. The student performance is regularly assessed to inform their progression to the next level.

The program has five major steps

  • Implementation teams’ capacity building

Since this program is unique in its delivery, the facilitators/ teachers are first of all trained on the approach. The training is meant to ensure that the teachers fully understand the objectives of the approach and acquire the necessary knowledge for efficient delivery.

  • Assessment

The children are tested on the basic literacy and numeracy skills using simple tools. This is done to determine the competency level of the child. The assessment data is used to determine the grouping.

  • Grouping

Here the children are grouped based on the assessment data irrespective of their grade or age. The groups are homogeneous i.e. Every group has children with similar learning needs.

  • Classroom Activities

Each group is assigned a facilitator/teacher who creates activities and materials suited to children’s needs, rather than adhering to a linear curriculum. Classes are fun and fast-paced, and children strengthen a number of skills simultaneously.

  • Monitoring

There is continuous monitoring of the teaching and learning process to assess the progression of learners.

Keeping pace in action

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EERU Initiative is a grassroots, volunteer driven initiative that improves access to quality education for children in rural and urban slums most of whom have largely been left behind in education.

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