Ngwenya Primary School, until it was recently divided into two schools next to one another, had 8,000 learners. Literacy levels among many children there are low, over 90% of the Standard 3 and 4 students who were tested scored at beginner level for reading and so need individual attention to help them improve. This level of support typically isn't available in Malawi, where class sizes average 70 pupils. Our new partner organisation, Ladder to Learning, a Malawian NGO based in Lilongwe, identified this problem at Ngwenya Primary School and put together a three-part plan aimed at improving matters there:
Reading Clubs with the assistance of Reading Coaches who will supplement the work that Public Primary School teachers do.
Mentorship Sessions whereby Role Models will be called to come motivate and inspire the students. this will encourage the students to do better in their education and attain tertiary education.
Computer training classes. By keeping them busy and empowering them with knowledge of different technologies, we believe pupils will be able to improve their performances in class. Ladder to Learning are developing a Family Learning Company application that helps students improve their English speaking and writing skills.
Think Malawi is delighted to be able to fund this project, as it fits very well with our aim of improving results in primary and secondary schools.
The project is already underway, here are a few highlights so far:
Remedial reading lessons
6 volunteers have been recruited at Ngwenya primary school. They have tested the reading levels of students and recorded the results. This data was then used to select 100 students (51 girls and 49 boys) for remedial reading lessons and lessons have begun.
The motivation session went ahead on 8 March 2022:
Over 750 students were in attendance, including teachers and school administration.
Main speakers were volunteers and Ladder to Learning’s Community Liaison Officer - who shared their career paths with the students present at the event.
This was to create a bond between the volunteers and the students aswell as inspire the students to go further with their studies.
This activity was also developed to create an understanding of volunteerism and what the project is doing at Ngwenya.
Ladder to Learning have also successfully enrolled 205 students out of the planned 250 students in the reading clubs.
Hurdles to overcome
Running the sessions at Ngwenya has not been without challenges, the biggest one being teaching space as we await the completion of the Ngwenya Literacy Hub. Because the students learn in shifts (some students in the morning hours and others in the afternoon hours), the school’s classrooms are usually occupied. The team has improvised and found creative ways of assisting and teaching the students though it’s still a challenge, especially now that it’s rainy season.
We'll provide further updates as the project progresses.
Projects like this often would not go ahead without donations from our supporters. Please consider joining our Think Malawi Together initiative and play a part in improving education in Malawi.