RET is currently implementing a unique and much needed Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) in the Kenyan refugee camps of Hagadera, Dagahaley and IFO in Dadaab. A combination of the lack of existing infrastructure together with the influx of more than 160,000 refugees in 2011, has meant that only a mere 2% of secondary aged children are currently in school. This lack of access is tragic, as secondary education is often the main criteria for employment.
Fatuma, an 18 year-old refugee from IFO camp, is a good example. She has been unable to access secondary education after completing primary school in 2011. Her days are spent at home, having twice been unable to meet the secondary school cut-off mark. This threshold was put in place due to the large numbers and limited infrastructure. Opportunities for young people who failed to proceed to secondary education are virtually non-existent. RET’s Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) will therefore open up possibilities for refugees like Fatuma.
Funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, the programme will provide young people with an accredited education leading to a recognised Kenya Secondary Education Certificate. This will be done using a comprehensive, but tailored, curriculum that will enhance their livelihood prospects, as a Secondary Education Certificate is the standard that employers most frequently require.
Subjects taught will include Alternative-B Mathematics, General Sciences, English, and Kiswahili. The ALP will complement RET’s other livelihood initiatives, which include offering life skills education and apprenticeship schemes.
As of July 2012, girls accounted for only 23% of students enrolled at the secondary level, further highlighting the need to build their capacities using non-formal approaches. In this pilot year, 170 out-of-school adolescents (50% of whom are girls) will follow a three-year curriculum using a peer-to-peer strategy. RET is teaming up with the Kenyan Institute of Education to offer intensive training to students who have graduated from secondary school with strong grades. They are to become subject facilitators who will help their peers progress. Self-learning methods will also be used and learners will form study groups to discuss and debate concepts.
27 year-old Mohamed is another refugee whose livelihood ambitions have been frustrated by the educational system. Having failed to progress to secondary education in 2009, he applied for numerous jobs only to realize that the lack of a secondary education certificate was his biggest obstacle. The ALP programme has provided him with hope and encouragement and he is eager to begin learning. As he aptly noted, “Knowledge does not find you; you have to find it”. For displaced young people such as Mohamed and Fatuma, the link between secondary education and employability cannot be ignored.