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Catch-up Courses Ensure Students Don't Fall Behind

Minthi, on left, participates in a catch-up class run by Plan in Segou, Mali
Minthi, on left, participates in a catch-up class run by Plan in Segou, Mali
November 27, 2012

Minthi is 13 years old and in the 6th grade. Her smile hides the challenges that she faces in school each day.

Eight months ago, Minthi left behind the violence in her hometown of Kidal and moved to Segou with her family. Now a stranger in her own country, she isn't able speak the local language and carries the fear that she experienced while fleeing the armed conflict in the North.

Minthi registered at the local school to continue her studies as soon as her family settled in Segou. The transition was difficult and despite her tremendous effort to catch up, she fell behind. The school facilities were over-crowded with new students who, like Minthi, had fled the armed conflict in the North. Minthi was close to dropping out of school when she learned of an educational opportunity from Plan.

Because of Plan, Minthi attends “catch-up” courses that have been organized for 450 students across 25 schools in Segou. Plan has also distributed 1,100 school kits to the 25 schools. In these courses, students learn Math, French, and other subjects. Activities are organized in child-friendly spaces and healthy snacks are provided. Displaced students enjoy returning to school, catching up on their studies, and making new friends.

In addition to the “catch-up” courses, 1,408 students who have been traumatized by the violence witnessed in the North now participate in counseling activities. “There are more than 100 students who show signs of learning challenges that have been caused by emotional distress. Plan will continue to offer appropriate follow-up programs to ensure emotional stability while advancing their education", says Ms. Samake, Plan’s Coordinator of Remedial Courses. In addition to the psychosocial activities, Plan is also working to sensitize families on the value of child-friendly spaces, where children can play and socialize in a protected environment.

Thanks to the “catch-up” courses, displaced students have been showing significant improvements in their schoolwork. The monthly assessments now show an 80% success rate. Minthi is confident that she will achieve good grades on her end-of-year exams. “My teacher praised my work in Math and I feel happy with my studies. I love this school," she confessed.

This Plan supported program will continue until the end of January. However resources, supplies, teachers, and classrooms have been stretched thin due to thousands of children like Minthi who have moved to the south of the country to escape the armed conflict in the North, compromising the educational opportunities of the students.


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