To improve the academic performance and the overall inclusion process of school-overage children, the project “Inclusion of Out-of-School Children in the Educational System” provides tutoring classes. The tutoring classes are additional classes to support the learning of the project-supported students, who belong to a very vulnerable group. This socially disadvantaged background directly reflects on the academic achievement of the children, resulting in low academic performance. So, the classes are implemented by experienced tutors, who, in communication with the children’s teachers, help the students to overcome the challenges they face during their regular classes in order to improve their overall academic achievement.
As many other things in this period, the implementation of the tutoring classes was challenged with the closing of the schools in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From then on, the tutoring support provided by the project continued in an online form.
During May and June, the purpose of these classes was to assist the students in following the online school classes, assist them in completing and submitting their homework with the teachers, as well as to facilitate better communication between the teachers, the students and students’ families, especially in circumstances when project-supported students did not have regular access to smart devices (distance learning tools).
With the end of the school year on June 10, 2020, the classes continued for the whole month of June so that the students could catch up with the missed material from the previous months. At this time, reaching the students for the implementation of the tutoring classes was extremely challenging, as most of them did not own any smart devices and were dependent on the smart phones of their parents, who were not always home, due to their jobs. In these conditions, when students didn’t have smart devices yet and the school could not provide a suitable venue, if the weather conditions allowed it, the tutors were organizing the classes in their own backyards.
“We are really grateful for this opportunity and we make sure to tell the teacher at the end of the class. The tutoring has really helped me get better grades at school,” explains a student from Kumanovo.
“This is great. We do not have internet and my son has difficulties getting schoolwork. I tried to help him as much, but even I don’t understand everything. Thanks to Resmija [the tutor] even I have where to turn to for help, and she always helps. She makes sure to explain the problem to us so we can understand and learn, instead of just solving it,” adds a parent from Kumanovo.
With the beginning of the new school year in October, the project continued to provide tutoring classes and support more students from more municipalities. Additionally, the project obtained 144 smart devices, i.e. tablets for all project-supported students, finally enabling them to access both the regular and tutoring classes more easily.
“The students were interested in the classes. They were really excited because they had the new tablet [a donation from the project] and I think that motivated them greatly to attend classes and learn,” says a tutor from Suto Orizari.
As the COVID-19 situation escalated and remains unpredictable, the schools introduced and developed strict protocols for protection. As a response, in order to follow the protocols and still ensure the successful implementation of the tutoring support, the students from some project schools are following online tutoring classes and others attend tutoring classes with physical presence, depending on the field situation as well as the resources available (venue, prevention equipment such as a mask, hand sanitizer, etc).
“The classes this way [online] are way more interesting and easier. The teacher has fun presentation for every class,” says a student from Suto Orizari.
During this period, the tutors’ goal is to support the students’ distance learning experience as much as possible in order to ensure that the project-supported students are not failing behind with their regular curricula.
In the new school year 2020/2021, during October and November 299+ tutoring classes have been organized for 106 students, in 19 groups, implemented by 12 tutors.
This activity is part of the Project for Inclusion of Out-of-School Children in the Educational System, supported by the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation (PCF), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science.