Catch up on Reading


Emelyne, left, and other children in her Burundi village, practice reading and writing on evenings after school.

Burundi primary schools are witnessing a high school dropout rate because of poor learning conditions. World Vision is working to address this issue through its reading to learn project.

Ten-year-old Emelyne Mugishawimana, who joined a World Vision reading camp four months ago, has seen her second term results improved. She could have been among the many students who are dropping out of school because of poor performance, but now she is motivated and determined to move forward with her studies.

At the bottom of Ngayane Hill in Ntunda, Karusi province, northeastern Burundi, children used to spend all their evenings playing. This situation recently changed; besides playing, part of their evening time is dedicated to learning how to read and write. Thanks to World Vision’s reading to learn project. A reading camp established in 10-year-old Emelyne’s area is helping her to perform well in class.

“In the last second term, I came up 4th of my class while in the first, I was the 12th,” she says. “The situation changed when I joined this reading camp.”

Poor performance is at the basis of increased rates of primary students who drop out of school, especially in the last term of the school year. Local school education authorities in Gitaramuka commune say to have noticed that most of the children who drop out are those whose records are not good.

For the only second term, 721 out of 17183 students dropped out of school. The main cause being bad results as explained by local education authorities.

“I want to be a teacher when I graduate,” Emelyne says. Emelyne’s dream might not be a reality if more efforts are not deployed, many factors are preventing students from performing well, including lack of teaching materials, crowded classes, and lack of qualified teachers. All these prevent school children from learning appropriately, and low scores lead discouragement and abandonment of school.

Parents are aware of all these challenges and are working with World Vision to change this situation. Every means is welcome including writing on walls of their homes, crop leaves and any other tool found in their environment.  World Vision’s reading to learn project trained parents so that they can help their children learn even at home.

Gloriose, Emelyne’s mother, always takes time to ask her daughter about school and help her reinforce her classes.

“I wish my children went far in studies more than I did as there is no bright future for them without studying,” she says.

Photo ©2016 World Vision, Achel Bayisenge

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