KAMPALA — VVOB, in collaboration with its partners, organized the “Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) in Uganda: From Pilot to Scale” event last week to celebrate the achievements of the program in Uganda thus far.
Held at Nakasero Primary School, the event also marked the introduction of a new scaling strategy for Uganda known as “U CATCH UP.”
TaRL, a remedial teaching method developed by J-PAL and Pratham, focuses on enhancing foundational literacy and numeracy skills among learners. The approach has proven successful in several African countries, including Zambia, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire.
One of the key principles of TaRL is grouping learners based on their learning level, rather than age or grade.
Over the past three years, TaRL has been implemented with great success in three districts of Kasese, Isingiro, and Adjumani, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and district local governments.
During the event, Robert Kakaire, the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Advisor at VVOB, highlighted the results of TaRL in Uganda after three years of implementation.
He emphasized the importance of scaling up the program and involving various stakeholders to appreciate its impact.
“We have been through a phase of Piloting the teaching at the right level, which is a remedial approach aimed at ensuring that learners acquire their foundational literacy and numeracy skills. So, we’ve been implementing these for three years, the pilot, and right now I want to showcase the results of TaRL but also bring on board the different stakeholders to be able to appreciate that the teaching level actually be scaled up,” Robert Kakaire explained.
George Mutekanga, Assistant Commissioner Head of Primary School, and Education expressed his appreciation for the work of VVOB during the pilot phase.
He emphasized the need for collaboration to address the issues raised and extend the program’s reach to private schools.
“Through our collaborative efforts within the basic working groups, the Ministry of Education and Sports structure, and the EDPs partnership groups, we are confident that we will chart a clear path forward on how to proceed. I extend my gratitude for reaching consensus on important matters, and I sincerely hope that as we conclude the first pilot phase, we will address the specific issues I have highlighted. It is imperative that we devise a plan to sustain and expand the existing team, including the teachers who have received mentoring and the facilitators who have played a crucial role in ensuring consistency across other schools,” he said.
Joris Rossie, the Country Programs Manager at VVOB, shared the new scaling strategy known as “U CATCH UP,” which signifies the transformation and expansion of the TaRL methodology in Uganda.
“The Teaching at the Right Level methodology, which we have introduced in Uganda, is poised for scaling up. As we embark on this expansion, it is essential to transform and fully realize the potential of this methodology, and we firmly believe it merits its distinct name and brand. Henceforth, we shall refer to the Teaching at the Right Level approach as “U CATCH UP” (Uganda U CATCH UP), underscoring its unique identity and association with our country’s educational landscape,” he shared.
The event also provided a platform for teachers and students from the three districts to share their testimonials about the positive impact of the TaRL program on education in their communities.
One of the students, Akanyinjuka Celestine, a P.4 pupil from Nyakamuri Primary School in Kamubeizi Trading Centre, Isingiro district, expressed gratitude to the funders and called for support to extend educational opportunities to more Ugandan children.
The remarkable improvement in learning outcomes clearly indicates that TaRL is making a significant contribution to the development of foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Following the implementation of two school terms of TaRL, approximately 50-70% of learners have progressed to higher learning levels, showcasing the program’s potential.