The school year continued through to April 2020 during which Schooling for Life’s (SfL) third (Batch 3) and fourth (Batch 4) cohorts students sat to their second semester examinations of their Employability skills classes. In March 2020, a state of emergency was declared in Sierra Leone in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to other countries worldwide, all educational institutions in Sierra Leone were closed as of 31 March 2020 until further notice. The first COVID-19 case in Sierra Leone was reported on 1 April 2020, forcing SfL to close its doors on 6 April 2020 and suspend all face-to-face activities until further notice.
Every year, SfL organizes a dinner in celebration of the month of Ramadan and to emphasize the family relationship between the team, the students and the trainers. Especially during the hardship of the pandemic, the SfL team wanted to support the students. To that end they decided that instead of sharing a meal with SfL, the organisation would now facilitate a meal for the students and their respective families at home. To that end, SfL staff delivered a package with basic ingredients like rice and oil to each students’ house (19 students in total) for them to celebrate the annual Ramadan dinner with their own families.
To ensure learning continuity into students’ third semester, SfL is transitioning its Employability skills classes to an online format, delivered remotely. A preliminary pilot demonstrated that SfL’s courses can be formatted in such a way that they can be accessed online (on phones) by students in Sierra Leone. Specifically, initial feedback after a pilot with SFL students confirmed that SfL’s courses were compatible with both mobile phone and computers and were also manageable within local content and infrastructure. Additionally, surveyed students indicated that course assignments and videos were easy to download, view and submit, and that they enjoyed continuing their learning experience online.
To keep the students engaged during the initial stop of the skills classes, SfL felt the need to keep engaging students and therefore quickly continued with the personal guidance by phone. Every two weeks the students continue with the development of their personal development goals and have a chance to discuss their challenges within the context of the pandemic.
May has been used by SfL to further develop the transition to remote learning in the form of an online learning platform as well as online content. Despite the pandemic, SfL students who are employed continue to excel in their jobs and to find new employment.
SfL is happy to make the following announcements regarding its students.
- In March, SfL did several COVID-19 sensitisation trainings with both batches of students. Teaching and following up on measurements put in place by the government as well as within SfL that needed to be transferred by the students into their home environment.
- In April 2020, students from Batch 3 and Batch 4 sat their second semester examination. References continued with adjusted schedules and grading has been done and almost everyone passed all their courses.
- In May 2020, SfL informed guardians of students’ progress in the Skills for a Successful Future programme through letter drop off by SfL staff as a replacement of the regular student-guardian end of semester meetings that normally take place.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students from Batch 3 created flyers about measures to take that were shared by SfL after which they collaboratively, as a group, created a video aimed at raising awareness about the virus and disseminating information related to infection prevention and control.
We are proud of, and would like to congratulate, all of our students for their outstanding educational and professional accomplishments to date!
We would also like to thank all of our donors for their generous donations. It is because of your support that our students are able to succeed and secure a brighter future!
Remember, making a donation is easy: simply access Schooling for Life’s online campaign.
Country Director & Founder
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