- On juli 14, 2017
In deze blog vertelt onze Programmamanager Joseph Asutai wat Booksteps voor hem betekent:
I recognize education as an enabling right; it facilitates the realization of all the other human rights thus. This means therefore, that, investing in education is investing in just about all spheres of life. Education has a huge multiplier effect. It also has a lifelong value; once you get it, it lives in you forever. I choose to perceive that as ‘sustainability.’
The value of good reference materials
In Uganda, however, one drawback to educational achievement is its rather low quality, especially the low quality of delivery. Issues of pedagogy aside, one of the biggest challenges of a classroom teacher in Uganda is mastery of subject content. From my two decades of experience working directly with teachers and education projects, I have seen good qualified teachers struggle with subject content because they didn’t have access to (good) reference materials. Likewise, I have seen unqualified not-so-good teachers perform competitively well in lesson delivery – thanks to the good reference materials that we offered to them. The availability of good reference materials quickly manifested in the confidence and enthusiasm of the teacher. Subsequently, this translated into good grades (and performance) of the students.
Teacher reference materials have to be complemented with student reference materials so that the student can do self study and revision. I have seen student confidence and enthusiasm too, manifest in them, just like their teachers. In previous programme assessments, the students have attributed their good grades to the availability of reference texts. Getting such tangible feedback from an intervention by Booksteps has been, for me, a strong motivator. The many positive testimonies from learners and teachers alike inspire me continuously to involve and sacrifice in initiating and implementing Booksteps projects.
Ownership and sustainability
The student and teacher reference materials in question are unique; unique in that Booksteps asks the end user institutions to choose and list the most essential books that they require. Put simply, they are the very best and most demanded for reference materials that one will find in any benefiting institutions. These are very high levels of efficacy. No wonder, where the Booksteps project has been implemented previously, students and teachers literally migrate from existing book stocks and library spaces to use those run by Booksteps. Booksteps, in other words, provides the best of quality while involving the benefiting schools directly. From a development perspective this approach is paramount for ownership and future sustainability of the project.
Sticking to the point of ownership and sustainability, the project has also ensured that schools contribute in kind, from the word go. Eventually, they raise funds to gradually fill in as financial contributions from Booksteps phase out.
The bicycle hub effect
In addition, my attraction to involve in the Booksteps project has to do with its innovative methodology. Booksteps runs an opertion which is like a bicycle hub and spokes. The spokes ‘radiate’ books to/from the different benefiting schools. Schools support the pickup and drop off operations themselves. That is evidence of a felt need, a demand – by the benefiting schools. The hub and spoke arrangement allows for wide timely sharing, thus, maximum utilization of every piece of textbook available in the project as it does many rounds in many schools, in many hands – of teachers and learners. It is possibly the highest maximization usage of a text book. These are very high levels of efficiency.
Across this country, Uganda, the reading culture has waned over the years. Book stocks are increasingly rare in homes, and rare in schools too. They are almost a luxury. By putting books in the shelves and hands of readers, the operations by Booksteps contribute immensely in reviving that reading culture. That culture is widely empowering – to just about every demographic group in the country. It contributes to development of the human resource. Yet a quality human resource is pivotal in the development aspirations of any nation. It is critical therefore, that that culture is renewed (by such efforts as Booksteps’s).