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Dec 19, 2013

Arlington Academy of Hope: The scool year wraps up in Uganda

In Uganda, the primary and secondary school year starts in Jan/Feb and has three terms.  The school year has just wrapped up.  Students in several grades are anxiously awaiting the results of national standardized testing.  For example, students in 7th grade recently took the all-important Primary Leaving Exam or PLE to determine whether they can continue on to secondary school.  Scores are grouped into four divisions, and these scores determine which schools students can get into.  Almost all secondary schools are boarding schools, so ti is a very big step for poor children from the village, going away to school.  We try and prepare the students through counseling and mentoring, to help them succeed in secondary school.

Students in the fourth grade of secondary school (S4) take exams as well, and those in the the sixth and last year of secondary (S6) have taken exams which will determine if they get into university and where. 

Our pioneer class has finished the first semester of university.

Nevertheless, there's activity at our school in Bududa.  Tutoring is offered for students needing a bit of extra help. The library is being utilized.  And computer classes have been offered in our modest computer lab.  Finally, there was a high volume of applicants to consider for our new first grade class (P1).  It is a difficult process, because so many families see the school as a way to give their children a future, and we can only take so many.  After carefully reviewing and interviewing all, the new incoming class has been chosen!  We are excited to greet the 51 beaming new faces next month!  Thanks to the help of donors, some children in the new class already has sponsors lined up! There are still some unsponsored primary students, and a larger number of unsponsored secondary students who need sponsors to be able to stay in school.  Many find sponsoring a child to be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience; we encourage you to visit www.aahuganda.org

Oct 22, 2013

Update

Our project operates in rural eastern Uganda, one of the poorest countries in the world, in a region where less than 14% of children complete primary school. We have a near 100% success rate in completing primary school and enrolling in secondary school (similiar to high school and junior college in the US).

Internships/Apprenticeships for Secondary students.  The students are back at school as of September 2013, in the third and final term of the school year.  While on break, we emphasized opportunities to gain job skills that will help the students later in life.  Students completed volunteer service at the school, at our clinic, and in the community.  Some students were able to work in companies over the break -- equivalent to an internship.  This is a program we want to expand in order to give students some professional work to help build their resumes and gain valuable experience.  Unemployment and underemployment is a big issue in Uganda, so anything we can do to give the students valuable job skills and experience is a good thing.

STEM teaching and learning.  Our Uganda staff is identifying individuals with STEM expertise (science, technology, engineering, and math) to assist during the student breaks. This is challenging due to our remote location.  We are also looking into online modules that could help, if feasible with our very, very limited internet and electricity.

We are doing an inventory books and materials and teacher skills we already have in Uganda, to strengthen STEM education. The Ugandan government is updating some textbooks so we need to ensure we have appropriate teaching and learning materials so students in primary school are learning what is needed for national exams and to prepare students for secondary school.

Girl Mentoring.  A group of faculty and students from Lasell College provided mentoring for girls.

Technology Challenges.  We also exploring if anything can be done to improve the poor internet and unreliable electricity in rural eastern Uganda which limits our ability to do online learning so far. This is an ongoing issue and we are doing our best at workarounds, such as using smart phones which have much better internet.

University students.  We have several students in university studying STEM topics.  One student named Timothy even scored a perfect score on the pre-college exam -- equivalent to getting a 1600 on U.S. college boards!  Timothy received a full government scholarship to study engineering. Almost all of the first class to graduate secondary school last year did well on college entrance exams and are now in college.  Most were admitted to the best colleges in the country.  No one anticipated so many of our secondary students would be accepted in college.  We are exploring the viability of a student loan program so that those students who do not have sponsors can attend college.

Sep 24, 2013

Update on our amazing schoolchildren!

Our secondary school grads head off to college!
Our secondary school grads head off to college!

Secondary students.  The students in secondary school start have just started their third (and final) term of the school year.  There are important national exams to study and prep for. They are getting a good education and they are doing well on exams.  During the break since the last term, students returned to the village where they were tutored in key subjects and mentored. They also completed volunteer service at the school, at our clinic, and in the community. Some students were abe to work in companies over the break -- equivalent to an internship.  This is a program we are looking to expand in order to give students some professional work to help build their resumes and gain valuable  experience.  Our Uganda staff is in the process of identifying individuals with STEM expertise (science, technology, engineering, and math) to assist during the student vacations.

University students.  Almost all of the first class to graduate secondary school last year did well on college entrance exams and are now in college.  Most were admitted to the best colleges in the country.  One student named Timothy even scored a perfect score on the pre-college exam -- equivalent to getting a 1600 on U.S. college boards!  Timothy received a full government scholarship to study engineering. No one anticipated so many of our secondary students would be accepted in college.  We are exploring the viability of a student loan program so that those students who do not have sponsors can attend college.

We are doing an inventory books and materials and teacher skills we already have in Uganda, to strengthen STEM education. The Ugandan government is updating some textbooks so we need to ensure we have appropriate teaching and learning materials so students in primary school are learning what is needed for national exams and to prepare students for secondary school.

A group of faculty and students from Lasell College provided mentoring for girls.

We also exploring if anything can be done to improve the poor internet and unreliable electricity in rural eastern Uganda which limits our ability to do online learning so far. This is an ongoing issue and we are doing our best at work-arounds, such as using smart phones which have much better internet.

 
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