Catch-Up Schools were created by the Ministry of Education in Rwanda. This emerging program has been designed and piloted to address the specific problems facing primary school children who have missed the opportunity to continue (or to ever attend) school because of the disruptions due to the war and the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. The Catch-Up program takes the regular curriculum from the six years of primary school, and creates a new series of lesson plans designed to bring uneducated and undereducated children to the level of the 6th year in a maximum of three years.
The Catch-Up School model has proven to be highly effective. In the past two years, many children from Catch-Up Schools were able to take the national primary six exams and pass meaning that they were able to be promoted on to the next level in secondary schools. The third year of operation will see even more successes, as they receive the results of this year’s national exams.
The children attending the Catch-Up School are rescued from a life of hopelessness, and in most cases, homelessness. They have
survived by begging, working small jobs,
stealing, working for prostitutes, or digging in
dangerous dumps. They have lived a life of
constant exposure to the elements and danger.
While some have had a parent or caregiver, in
their lives there was no income to allow them to
go to school, so they have been forced to a life on the streets to fend for themselves. Many
others had no parents or family members to care for them. Their caregivers were either
killed during the genocide or fell victim to AIDS or other calamities.
Head Master Theo and I with Jean-Pierre (Peter) who has now been accepted to a secondary school in Gisyeni