News from Rumbek
Education beyond limits – Loreto Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)
In the Loreto Primary School, we have a population of almost 1000 learners. There are around 600 in the morning program and 360 in the afternoon program, which is called ALP.
The Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) helps those who are not able to attend lessons during the morning school schedule, often due to their responsibilities at home. It consists of eight classes: Level 1 Bakhita, Teresa Ball, and Augustine; Level 2 John, Mark, and John; Level 3; and P7.
ALP is a haven for students who might struggle to attend school because of age, marital status, or disability. Many people from the community are benefiting from this program.
All learners are provided with the necessary materials and simply have to avail themselves for learning. For example, two of Loreto’s gatemen (guards) are studying in Level 2 and 3, four of our compound workers, and even some parents of students in the morning school also attend the afternoon program.
People of different age brackets, ranging from young pupils to the aged, attend the ALP program. Mary Ding at 25 years old, is a married woman and a mother of two. She explains, “I was married while in school (Matangai) and I couldn’t go back. When I heard about Loreto ALP I talked to my husband and he allowed me [to] come to learn. The program helps me a lot because now I can read and write. The program is very reliable because after doing home duties I can attend school.”
John Muorwel is 12 years old and is in Level 1 Teresa Ball, while his younger sister is in Primary 1. They attend school at different times so that they are able to take care of house chores. Their responsibilities are great because their mother is blind. She also comes to the school compound where she is involved in the emergency feeding program, run by the Loreto Primary Healthcare Unit.
Thankfully, both of the children are able to be educated, without having to neglect their duties at home. “I come to school in the afternoon because when my sister comes in the morning, I’m left home grazing the goats and fetching water. My mother cooks for us at home and when we are in school my brother helps her walk around,” says John.
In the ALP program, there are a few cases of pupils with special needs. Abraham Marial, in a Level 1 class, is one of these pupils. His teacher reports that he was not born deaf, but developed deafness after a chronic malaria attack when he was young.
In class, Abraham is taught with the help of teaching aids such as bible pictures for Christian Religious Education (CRE) and charts for science. His friends help translate to him using hand signals. He doesn’t sit the same exam with his classmates, but special visual exams are provided for him.
Nyanaciek Maker is a Level 2 girl who is deaf. Nyanaciek was born deaf and she learns by observing mouth movements, because she is not well acquainted with hand signals. She tries to do well in class, not allowing her disability to hold her back, believing that disability is not inability.
Alfred Deng Meen is in Level 1 Augustine, and suffers from some physical disabilities that affect both of his legs and his right arm. This makes ambulation, writing, and even speech a challenge. Alfred learns mainly through hearing and observation. His teacher prepares oral and partly written exams for him because the teacher has learnt how to interpret what Alfred says.
As all of our ALP students learn with passion, they will increase their knowledge and be better people in the society, not only improving their lives but also the lives of others.