Community-based classes in our TEAM Girl Malawi project resumed on 19 October 2020 after schools were closed for eight months due to COVID-19. Our team came up with a new learning approach called Study Circle as a way of adapting to the current COVID-19 crisis. It’s been a month now since we opened these new classes so we checked in with local staff member, Rebecca, to learn more about how they are getting on:
My colleague, Clement Mwazambumba, Link Malawi Project Manager in Mchinji said that the study circle approach is an innovation which TEAM Girl Malawi adopted to address two main things – Firstly, it is to ensure that learning and teaching does not expose the learners to COVID-19, and secondly it is to ensure that all learners are able to benefit from closer attention from the facilitator.
The study circle is a breakdown of the original class of 60 learners to a class of only 15. In this way, learners are able to practice social distancing and can fully concentrate and participate in all activities. Further, the study circle is placed closer to the village so that learners do not travel for too long to get to the learning centre. We’ve also reduced the syllabus to concentrate on core subjects required for literacy and numeracy as well as life skills like sexual and reproductive health rights.
I was also privileged to hear from one of the facilitators from Kamphata centre in Mchinji, Seledia Kauswe, on how learning has benefited through this new Study Circle approach:
“The study circle approach is very effective. It is easy for me to explain things in class to fewer learners than before. We now have more time for practice in writing and reading through this study circle.”
Seledia is also now finding it easier to mark homework and this gives her time with her students for more practice in writing and reading during class.
Mike is one of the learners in Mchinji:
“My name is Mike; it feels so good to be back to school. I am now able to catch up on my reading and counting skills. Life was really hard the time we were just staying at home. I was worried that my education has been disturbed and I am now happy to be back in class. Now that we are learning in smaller groups and a few subjects, it’s very easy to understand what the teacher is saying. My desire is to learn how to read and count, so that I can start a business of my own in future.
Many thanks to Link Education for giving us another chance to learn through TEAM Girl Malawi Project.”
Through the TEAM Girl Project, Link continues to encourage learners to follow all COVID-19 prevention measures like frequent hand washing with soap, wearing face masks and observing social distance.