The Impact of the Child Friendly School Methodology in Promoting the Right to Education in Primary Schools. Case Study: Sustainable Comprehensive Responses for Children and Their Vulnerable Families (Score) Project, Central Region, Uganda
Author: ACAN BARBARA
Supervisor: Denis Musinguzi
Education is a fundamental right and a building block to improving the social and economic outcomes of millions of children across the world. Although access to universal primary education has increased dramatically across the developing world, the quality of the education is poor and thus the importance of improving it is critical (UNICEF, 2009). Following the provision of universal primary education (UPE) in Uganda, the Child Friendly School (CFS) Model delves deeper into this quality of the education provided (UNICEF, 2009b). The CFS Model has been instrumental in encouraging attendance, concentration and arguably school performance across implementing schools. The AVSI Foundation SCORE project funded by USAID/PEPFAR was implemented by a consortium AVSI (Lead Agency), CARE, Trans-cultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), and FHI 360 and reached 25,000 vulnerable households and their children in 35 districts of Uganda - with the goal of reducing their vulnerability.
The general objective of the study was to explore the impact of Child Friendly School (CFS) Methodology in promoting the rights of education in Primary Schools in Central Region, Uganda. In this study, schools were reached and the methods were aligned to explore child rights issues from children, teachers and administration. The study design, study area, participants, data collection methods, data quality control, ethical issues and methods of data analysis were described. A case study design was used in this study and the SCORE project was studied because the CFS Methodology was implemented within the Child Protection Objective of the project for seven (07) years. The design of this study was qualitative; case studies on specific CFS programs in selected schools were utilized. The study was descriptive in nature exploring the different components of the CFS Methodology. The study focused mainly on qualitative approach to allow simultaneous description of views, perceptions and beliefs at any single point in time.
The CFS approach was cited as an important method in promoting childrenís own rights to learning, speech and expression. The awareness created on specific rights in schools through the talking compounds, childrenís courts and the wall of fame encourages children to not only demand for but also change their behavior, attitude and perceptions on issues that affect learning in school. The friendly nature of the approach also encourages children to interact with teachers. CFS approach encourages them to express talents and identify their own potentials not only in class but in the extra-curricular activities of the school. While the childrenís courts encourage children to sort their school issues, debates encourage role taking and thus children fulfill their rights to education in its holistic form. Children, teachers and parents were open to discuss how the CFS approach has promoted their own rights to education; school and home environments are all essential in promoting childrenís right to education thus parents also cited examples how these method and approaches have promoted childrenís right to education.
This study explored existing evaluations and lessons learned of CFS and it notes that CFS benefit children in promoting their rights to education but certainly it remains the efforts of teachers, administrators and CSOs to strengthen this approaches so as to improve on their rights to education. The extent to the participation of schools in the CFS methods in totality also varies widely. The SCORE Projectís impact on promoting childrenís rights to education through the CFS methodology has highly improved the relationship between schools administrators, parents and the pupils. The CFS is an effective tool for learning and participation of children by encouraging involvement in the different methods.