How this unique warning system combats school dropout rates
Education

How this unique warning system combats school dropout rates

Sign the Petition

How this unique warning system combats school dropout rates

By Imani LaTortue, ONE Digital Intern

Many people are aware that higher education grants people the chance to further pursue their future career goals. But unfortunately, everyone in the world can’t take advantage of these opportunities. Room to Read aims to change that with their early warning system to reduce the number of students — particularly girls — who have to drop out of school.

A student in Room to Read’s girls’ education program in Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

In 2014, the Room to Read team tracked dropout risk factors among 3,015 girls in Nepal. The key goal of their monitoring system was to identify the factors that contribute to students dropping out of school.  The risk factors include missing school, failing an exam, missing life skills sessions, and parents failing to attend a Room to Read parent meeting. It has been noted that girls who exhibit these factors over the course of a year were more than five times as likely to drop out of school as girls who did not. With this information, program staff and Room to Read’s social mobilizers — local women who act as mentors to young female students — are now able to immediately intervene with specialized support.

Rose Jeremiah, 15, is part of Room to Read's Girls' Education Program at Kingani Secondary School in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

A student in Room to Read’s girls’ education program in Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

Since its success in Nepal, the organization decided to launch the system in Tanzania and Zambia in 2015. In the past, these countries have experienced some of the highest dropout rates of any of the countries where Room to Read implements its program. In 2016 after the risk and response system was introduced, the dropout rate among program participants in both countries fell by more than two-thirds compared to the previous year.

Tanzania was also noted for having a successful first year with the program. Just ask Warda, a 16-year-old student at Lugoba Secondary School.

Warda was in 11th grade when she started missing school days. “I am one of six children in my family, and only two of us have attended secondary school,” she says. “The other was my brother, and he dropped out before graduation. My parents are small-scale farmers, and they cannot always provide for our basic needs. Sometimes we manage to have one meal a day, and sometimes none.”

A girl on her way to class at Kingani Secondary School in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

A girl on her way to class in Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

Going to school takes time that girls like Warda could otherwise use to help their families. So remaining enrolled seemed like a luxury she couldn’t afford. But Rachel, a Room to Read social mobilizer, noticed Warda’s absences and responded according to her training. Rachel met with Warda and they discussed the long-term benefits that education could hold for her and her family. After attending Room to Read’s life skills education sessions, Warda’s attitude shifted and she re-enrolled.

“Room to Read has made me realize the importance of school and who I am today,” she says. “Thank you for everything that you are doing to support me and take me to a right path.”

Social mobilizer Happyness Simba speaks with student Rose Peter, 15, at Kingani Secondary School in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

A teacher sits with a student in Room to Read’s girls’ education program in Tanzania. (Photo credit: Daniel Hayduk)

Earlier this month, Room to Read celebrated reaching 50,000 girls through life skills and mentorship in secondary school. You can read more about this milestone here.

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organizations highlighted.
×

How this unique warning system combats school dropout rates

Sign the Petition

By signing you agree to ONE’s privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to ONE’s servers in the United States.
Do you want to stay informed about how you can help fight against extreme poverty?
Sign up to receive emails from ONE and join millions of people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. We’ll only ever ask for your voice, not your money. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Are you sure? If you select 'Yes' we can let you know how you can make a difference. You can unsubscribe at any time.