The internet has been a bit unreliable in the last two or three weeks as the rainy season has arrived and there have been more power cuts and a loss of the mobile and internet network in the last few days but now we can update you with some recent events at the college.
Two Saturdays ago was the Annual National Research Conference at the college. There were many presentations from around the country and we went along to learn more and listen to what people had found out. There was research on a wide range of subjects; gender representation in textbooks, practicum visits, active learning and so on.
One of the most interesting topics was carried out by Abi Adi College staff who looked at the Tigrinya language abilities of grade 2 and 3 students in the surrounding area. It was found that overall 30% of the 8 and 9 year olds questioned could not identify one single letter of their mother tongue alphabet, let alone read a word or a simple sentence. Another 47% had very low understanding and only 4% reached the benchmark of the expected reading ability. Many reasons were identified for this such as; lack of books and a lack of reading ability in parents and other family members. Most interestingly the repeater rate – that is the number of students who have to repeat a grade – was 0%, which shows that pupils get pushed through the system year on year, whether they have reached the standard or not.
Earlier on in the year I worked with the research team to suggest ways to improve the reading abilities of the pupils in the schools – namely using more active lessons and utilising some of the concepts from the Phonics programme back home – and it is hoped that the research can be followed up with some action and improvements in the coming academic year.