Supporting SEL in Uganda Primary Schools: What have we learned after one year.

This presentation summarizes the findings from Occasion 2 of the Uganda/Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity longitudinal study of the impact of the Journeys intervention that aims to reduce SRGBV, strengthen student's SEL, and improve school climate. The presentation focuses on qualitative findings. According to these findings, both teacher and pupil social and emotional competencies are strengthened in schools participating in Journeys. Teachers interact with their peers more often than in the past and their relationships with their pupils are more welcoming and positive. The prevalence of corporal punishment has declined. Pupils are free to open up to their teachers, report issues they encounter in school and express themselves more in the classroom. Pupil relationships have improved, resulting in less bullying and fighting on the school grounds.

The central role of school culture and climate in fostering social and emotional learning: Evidence from Malawi and Uganda

The central role that the school and classroom environment or ‘school climate’ plays in social and emotional learning (SEL) is well documented, albeit mostly from US-based studies. RTI International sought to understand how schools in Malawi and Uganda organized themselves to provide positive and supportive places for children to learn and to develop socially and emotionally. The narratives captured in this study help explain how teacher behaviors and school culture serve to nurture social and emotional (SE) skills. Teachers, students, parents, and school management committee (SMC) members discussed the importance of teacher encouragement, friendliness and approachability, appreciation, understanding of and listening to student viewpoints, and modeling of cooperative teacher–teacher interactions to support SEL. School qualities identified as important for SEL included cooperation, student clubs and sports, a violence-free environment, freedom of expression, and commitment to equality. The findings yield insights into what schools can do to develop a culture of SEL, in and outside the classroom.

The Journeys approach to building a safe, inclusive and positive school and fostering social and emotional learning

Certain conditions of the school and classroom environment—such as encouraging and appreciative classrooms, physical and emotional safety and responsiveness to diversity, among others—positively support students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). Therefore, SEL programming that provides both instruction to students and also serves to establish the school and classroom conditions that support SEL are recommended—that is, blended approaches. With funding from USAID/Uganda under the Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity, RTI International, in partnership with the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), developed a blended approach to SEL programming, which is the Journeys approach. The Journeys approach involves co-curricular activities that serve to directly strengthen students’ social and emotional (SE) skills. At the same time, it inspires and guides school staff and community members in establishing the learning conditions that foster SEL. The Journeys activities for students, school staff and community members apply a variety of awareness-building social technologies—such as guided reflection, dialogue, interactive games, and art and drama—to enable independent thinking about the nature and obstacles to a positive school climate and how to establish classrooms and out-of-classroom environments that foster SEL.

School Culture and Climate (and Love) Matter: Voices from Malawi and Uganda [CIES 2019 Presentation]

This study sought to identify the factors in the organizational culture and environment of a small sample primary schools in Malawi and Uganda that make them more (or less) conducive to children’s social and emotional development. The research team postulated that social and emotional learning are not products of the implementation of an “SEL” curriculum, but rather are inherently dependent on and result from the nature of the school climate.

What's Positive About Positive Schools: Lessons from Malawi and Uganda [CIES 2019 Presentation]

RTI conducted a small pilot study in Malawi and Uganda to identify the factors in the organizational culture and environment of primary schools that make them more (or less) conducive to children’s social and emotional development. The research team postulated that social and emotional learning are not products of the implementation of an “SEL” curriculum, but rather are inherently dependent on and result from the nature of the school climate.

The intersection of violence and social and emotional learning: implications for equity- CIES 2018 Presentation

CIES 2018 Presentation, given by Elizabeth Randolph. This presentation explores the role that students’ perceptions about school life, social and emotional skills, and agency play in mediating violence in education settings. We posit that these individual factors are important entry points for reducing the increased risk of violence associated with poverty, ethnicity or gender. This presentation draws from data from USAID/Uganda Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity that highlights certain student perceptions about the unequal treatment of vulnerable children (e.g., children living in poverty, orphans and children with disabilities) in schools, drawing from baseline data from 216 schools and 4835 Grade 3 and Grade 5 learners. Finally, data on student agency related to violence - that is, their ability to navigate their world to avoid, challenge and seek assistance when facing violence - will be reviewed, with an aim to inform future programming to reduce the risk of violence, especially for the most vulnerable learners.

Attitudes on gender norms in the school and home in Uganda- CIES 2018 Presentation

CIES 2018 Presentation, given by Elizabeth Randolph. The different expectations that are held for boys and girls related to obtaining an education and performing in school can differentially impact access and learning outcomes for both boys and girls. Yet there is a much larger set of cultural norms that either directly or indirectly impact equity in education, including: gender norms and power relations that produce violence against children in schools; exposure to models of inequality and domestic violence in the home; and differential competing demands of school and work for boys and girls, among others. These attitudinal factors are exacerbated by individual risks associated with poverty, disability, orphan status, and being in a minority. In order to unpack these norms and identify entry points for shifting norms toward more equality, it is important to understand in which sub-populations these attitudes are strongest and where the ‘cracks’ are that can be leveraged to shift belief systems that are unfavorable for education equity. Findings from Uganda will be presented that demonstrate that the attitudes of primary school students, parents, and school staff are very often different. The implications of these data for programming that supports more egalitarian attitudes and equality in education for all children will be discussed.

Ghana 2013 National Education Assessment-Technical Report

This report presents the findings from the 2013 administration of the Ghana National Education Assessment (NEA), carried out by the Assessment Services Unit (ASU) within the Ghana Education Service (GES). In addition to the performance results, this volume offers a substantial amount of contextual background and technical detail regarding the methodology for the 2013 NEA test development, sampling, data collection, and data analysis. Available separately is a brief document titled Ghana 2013 National Education Assessment: Summary of Results, which focuses more narrowly on the findings. The summary version is intended for use in discussions of policies and recommendations around instruction and educational assessments in Ghana.