Eduarta Nikci and Rina Krasniqi, both are 10 years old and attending 5th grade of the primary school “Skender Çeku” in a village Qyshk in Peja municipality, Kosovo. At this school, 22 children are attending LASC (Learning After School Classes) which is led by the teaching assistant Violeta Vokshi Shamliu. Eduarta and Rina are attending LASC for the third consecutive year and their family recognized their improvement in their school performance.
Rina said: “Yes, my mum have seen great improvements in my reading skills. She said “now you read so beautifully”.
Eduarta on her side said : “With the support received in after school classes, I feel more comfortable in mathematics. I really like to attend LASC because here I found additional help to do my homework and we also learn other things”.
Both Rina and Eduarta are very happy to attend LASC and have expressed their deep attachment to their teacher Violeta whom they compare with the role of a close family member.
Rina said “our LASC teacher offers us a great support and I also feel great when I come on this class as there is a very comfortable and friendly environment.
Having asked what does she like the most within LASC, Rina said: “Figurative art, music and Albanian language are her three favorite subjects”.
Tdh Kosovo with the support of Swiss Development Cooperation, in close partnership with the local NGO VoRAE (Voice of Ashkali and Egyptians) has established 22 Learning After School Classes (LASC), under the framework of the project: “Social inclusion and improvement of living conditions for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and other vulnerable groups in Kosovo”.
The main objectives of LASC are to improve social inclusion of children of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians communities and other vulnerable groups into the education system through activities that increase attendance in the mainstream education, decrease the drop-out rates, increase academic success, promote intercultural diversity and overall the wellbeing of children.
Unfortunately Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians communities in Kosovo continue to face a variety of challenges in different aspects of their every-day lives in terms of : social inclusion, lack of employment opportunities, discrimination and they often live in the margins of the society. A particular sensitive issue is the field of education. Indeed, education remains one of the main challenges for the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians communities as the situation is characterized by a low level of general attendance in the compulsory education, a very small amount of members of communities attending higher education or university education, very few teachers of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians origin and a high drop-out rate, in particular of girls.
An independent assessment conducted last year has shown that the LASC, has positive impacts on the regular attendance of formal education as they are closer to the community and maintaining continuous contact with students’ parents. Furthermore, the report shows that LASC have significantly decreased school dropout rate of students of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities and continuous progress has been made on social inclusion of students of these communities.
- The curricula of LASC is divided equally between provission of support to pupils with their homework and building up and extending their knowledge in all mandatory school subjects.
- Children have also expressed that LASC offers them an independent space which they cannot find in their respective homes, as often their home space is distractive and do not allow room for learning.
- Children have often expressed that they feel better supported by teaching assistants of LASC as they have more time to dedicate to each child and they like to come to LASC as they have interaction with other children.
- This also facilitates their integration and participation in all levels of education from pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education.
- Today, there is a network of 22 LASC's in place, spread among different municipalities of Kosovo and Tdh closely with VoRAE envisions to make particular efforts towards the institutionalisation of this model by ensuring the same time its sustainability.