At the end of the 2011 academic year we began evaluating the individual needs of the pupils at Ratu Meli Memorial School in preparation for implementing a one-on-one tuition programme. The aim was to improve the literacy levels and confidence of those pupils who needed additional support.
RMMS is a government run school on the island of Nacula in the Yasawa island chain with 116 pupils between the ages of 5-14 years old. The school has poor literacy pass rates and previously insufficient resources to offer individual support. As of March 2012 the one-on-one programme introduced by GVI is now successfully integrated into the daily routine at RMMS. In addition to classroom assistance, volunteers are now providing 20-30 minute tuition sessions which are tailor-made to meet the individual needs of the pupils.
The programme currently offers daily support to 22 pupils at RMMS, which is almost one fifth of the school. Additionally, the Fijian teachers are following our example and have initiated one-on-one sessions of their own. For the Infant classes (age 5-9) sessions have focused on improving phonics, as well as enhancing reading confidence and English vocabulary. In 2011 only 55% of the junior classes (age 10-14) passed English comprehension therefore, with a little help from Roald Dahl, we have been targeting this area in their one-on-one sessions.
We are able to closely evaluate the progress of individuals and in the last month we have seen two pupils moved off the programme as their English aptitude has improved to the point that they no longer require additional support. One of these pupils, Sela, joined Grade 1 in January 2012, however due to long absences during Kindergarten he was less prepared than his peers. He was unable to complete basic pen control tasks and could not trace any letters of the alphabet. After 6 weeks of daily sessions focusing on these core skills Sela is now able to transcribe the entire alphabet in upper and lower case. The one-on-one sessions have enabled Sela to catch up with the rest of his class early on in the academic year and he will no longer have a disadvantage moving forward.
The second pupil of note is Susanna, she is a Grade 5 pupil who initially lacked confidence in English reading and as a result she was extremely shy in class. During one-on-one sessions the volunteer working with Susanna began with intensive reading practice and then moved onto creative writing. As a result of the one-on-one sessions Susanna is now confident reading aloud to volunteers and in front of the class which means she has become more interactive during lessons.
The improvement observed across the programme as a whole, has demonstrated that the one-on-one programme has been a valuable addition to Ratu Meli School’s education program. Overall the feedback from teachers and volunteers suggests that all pupils on the programme have unquestionably benefited from one-on-one tuition. Moving forward we hope to build on this early success, continuing to expand and develop the programme with the support of the teachers and volunteers at RMMS.