We started our EFTC Saturday school on the 30th of April. There are 70 students in attendance for the 11 sessions, with the program ending the 16th of July. At the start of this new program, we are focussing on working with our students who need the most help. The specific target areas are reading and mathematics, with focus on literacy and basic arithmetic skills.
Throughout the world, we have seen the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on children’s education. All schools had to quickly figure out how remote learning could work for their students and staff. Unfortunately, students that don’t have access to the internet or don’t have parents who can help them with their studies have been impacted even harder.
In Guatemala only about 65% of the population has access to the internet in their homes. That number is even lower for the students who attend our school. Along with lack of internet access, most of our students have parents who work in the informal economy. The informal economy means that their work is undocumented and unregulated. This results in less pay and less flexibility with their work schedule, meaning less time helping their kids with their at home learning.
EFTC adapted the best way we could when the pandemic started. We gave all our students homework packets, tablets with internet and passed out food hampers. But, we know that even in the best of circumstances learning from home (without a trained educator) cannot compare to in person learning.
Luckily restrictions have lessened and we have our students back in person! Our school days look a little different due to governmental regulations, half our students attend class in the morning and half in the afternoon. But something we realized right away is the effects that two years of not attending school has had on our students.
We are always adapting to fit our students' needs here at EFTC, so this was another challenge that we were ready to take on! How can we best support the students that are the most behind compared to their classmates? And we landed on extra, more personalized attention on Saturday.