A New School Year for 276 Students at La’Angum Learning Center

The new school year has started. Just imagine: each morning 276 girls and boys walk the paths that lead from their various home villages to La’Angum Learning Center. The 36 youngest, pre-kindergarteners, who are attending school for the very first time, will soon become familiar with their routes, the routines, the process of learning how to read and write, do sums, think critically and master the official language of English. They’ll see the sixth graders, the 29 children who will graduate from LLC next summer after completing their eighth and final year of primary education: bookends to the story of individual opportunity. Education opens doors. A new school year begins.

FAST FACTS:

Grade levels: 8 (pre-K through grade 6)
Total boys: 145
Total girls: 130
Average class size: 35
Total teaching staff: 16

 

La’Angum Learning Center Graduates Second Class

We are so proud to announce that 31 students graduated from the 6th grade at La’Angum Learning Center this summer! The 15 girls and 16 boys started as pre-schoolers and successfully completed the course of study for the elementary grades. These young people are academically prepared to move on to junior high school, which includes the ability to read and write in the official state language of English. They have joined our first graduating class at Unity Junior High School.

Hakeem Bukari (l.) and Akosua Pudimniba, students in the 2017 graduating class.

LLC Graduates, Class of 2017:

Girls: Abibatu Yakubu, Agnes Nabila, Akosua Pudimniba, Amuda Kadiri, Ayisha Abdulai, Dorcas Sule, Essie N. Nanzobila, Esther Kuntoba, Fuseina Abdul-Rahaman, Lashakatu Issah, Latifa Mohammed, Lydia Alhassan, Mmalebna Tindanzo, Sawkiya Mohammed, Suzana Zuuri

Boys: Abdul-Malik Issahaku, Barikyi Tohiru, Bassit Yahaya, Ezikiel Do’adow, Fataw  Mahama, Fataw Issifu, Ganiu Musah, Hakim Bukari, Hasamiu Iddi, Huzedu Fusheini, Illiasu Issifu, Kabiru Musah, Kawilu Dahamani, Rafiu Abdul-Razak, Wadudu Sumani, Warisu Mahamadu

2016 School Enrollment

9-enrollment2

Ibrahim Bukari Issah and Chief process enrollment at the start of the school year.

Grade Boys Girls Total Teachers Teaching Assistants
KG1 20 13 33 2 1
KG2 22 14 36 1 1
Pr. 1 24 15 39 2 1
Pr. 2 15 19 34 1 1
Pr. 3 19 16 35 1 1
Pr. 4 17 8 25 1 0
Pr. 5 9 19 28 1 0
Pr. 6 17 15 32 1 0
ICT for P1-P6 1
143 119 262 10 5
Head Teacher 1
Exec. Asst. 1
Exec. Dir. 1
School Security 2

LLC Graduates First Class of Students

They started seven years ago as preschoolers. Now, three days of festivities honor them as La’Angum Learning Center’s first graduating class.

20 HARUNA TOAHIRU-sm

Haruna Toahiru

With these boys and girls began a powerful journey that hundreds of children in this remote portion of Northern Ghana will follow. They have completed their elementary education and are academically prepared to move on to junior high. LLC’s bilingual curriculum enabled them to master English sufficiently to move on to the all-English public schools. They have a future that was not available to them or children in their villages just eight years ago. This is, indeed, a cause for celebration!

4 HAADI ADAMBLA-sm

Haadi Adambla

There are 27 students in this graduating class: 14 girls and 13 boys. As a graduation gift, the PAMBE Ghana board has offered to pay the seventh grade school fees those who go on to attend junior high this fall. This amounts to roughly $100 per student, which is a substantial amount for these students’ families as most are living at subsistence level. These scholarship funds were donated by PAMBE Ghana friends and supporters. Our board hopes to repeat this gift for every graduating class in the future.

The celebration begins July 25 with activities and games, such as sack races, egg races and popular bread-eating competitions. This is a friend raiser, and also a fundraiser, so participants will pay a small fee to enter.

16 DANIEL NYABA-sm

Daniel Nyaba

The ceremonial graduation event is July 27. In true Ghanaian fashion, it will last for several hours. Scores of people will attend, including parents and families, dignitaries from the area’s business community, Ghana Education Service, local and regional government, NGOs such as CARE International, and religious, tribal and village leadership. “Travel Around Africa” is the day’s unifying theme. The program will include several cultural dances, story telling and dramatic performances by the students, and the awarding of certificates.

Graduation of LLC’s first class of students carries tremendous significance. To the graduates and their families, it is the opening of a door to a completely new future. It fuels the aspirations of younger students.  To LLC’s teachers and staff, it is the culmination of a seven-year process in which they have been central players. To PAMBE Ghana supporters, it is the exciting final act that affirms our efforts to establish a unique school in an underserved community. It is also the first act in PAMBE Ghana’s future, as we continue our work to help shape the ever-evolving community that is La’Angum Learning Center.

LLC Student Achievement Measured

student-feamle

There is no question La’Angum Learning Center has had a huge impact on the remote communities it serves, but how good a school is it?  From the start, the PAMBE Ghana board intended for the school to deliver measurable excellence but has struggled to identify meaningful ways to assess our educational outcomes.

One major stumbling block is that the Ghana Education Service (GES) does not administer any standardized assessment test until completion of the 9th grade. We plan to compare our graduates’ outcomes to those from other schools, but this is still three years off, and doesn’t speak to how our students are mastering their own grade school curriculum.

GES does provide curriculum guidelines for the elementary grades. LLC has incorporated these achievement levels into our curriculum development so that our graduates may make a smooth transition into the GES-run junior high school system. Our teachers assess student mastery on an ongoing basis. This, however, does not provide insight into how effective our unique program is compared to the traditional GES approach to elementary education.

Earlier this year we were disappointed to find ourselves in a blind alley after discovering a report based on a recent grade school assessment test developed by USAID. This report compared student mastery of certain benchmarks in schools across Ghana. We hoped to obtain a copy of this test and administer it to our students so that we could produce an effective comparison of LLC’s performance against GES outcomes regionally and nationally. Unfortunately, the test itself has proved impossible to locate. We will continue to pursue this through our contacts within GES and at USAID. For now, however, we must move on.

Through PAMBE Ghana’s relationship with the regional GES office, Alice was able to coordinate development and administration of a 6th grade mastery test, designed by 6th grade teachers to evaluate four benchmarks: English, math, science and citizenship.

The resulting data are very promising: LLC students outperformed students at two GES (public) schools and performed equally well as those at another local private school. LLC has the highest score of the combined benchmarks: 185. The other private school achieved the next highest score of 150, while the two GES schools received total scores of 119 and 108. The highest scoring LLC student was a girl who is the first in her family to ever attend school. She scored a total of 295.

LLC students were particularly strong in science and math (see graphs showing scores of individual students). Our students’ average science score was 57, followed by the private school with 43, and scores of 40 and 38 for the GES schools. LLC’s average math score was 42 – the next highest score of any of the other schools was 26.

This was a first step at creating a meaningful, reliable assessment tool that could be administered each year. We have learned from this experience, and will make changes in the test and in how it is administered. We see that our students have room to improve. We will address that in our ongoing work with teachers and curriculum.

PAMBE Ghana analyzed these test results in consultation with Denise Caudill, a former World Neighbors staff member who has lived and worked extensively in Western Africa. Caudill currently consults with nonprofits. Our Board’s curriculum committee—which includes certified Montessori teachers, college professors and other education professionals—will use the results to provide additional teacher training opportunities, classroom materials and curriculum oversight.

assessment-scores

Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.


         Instagram