Since 2016, ongoing violence and displacement as well as boycotts of and attacks on education have forced over 80% of schools in Cameroon’s NWSW regions to close, leaving over 855,000 children out of school. Over the past year, actors on the ground have reported a gradual opening up of space for education, and an increase in non-formal education (NFE) spaces and learning – often in the form of community schools or home learning spaces.
A lack of data on non-formal education has made these reports difficult to verify and limits the ability of actors to develop programming to support meaningful access to quality education in areas where schools remain closed. To contribute to filling this gap, Street Child, in collaboration with the EiE Cluster and education actors across the region, conducted an assessment of non-formal education in November & December 2019.
The aim of this assessment was to assess -
• Access to non-formal learning
• Forms and curricula of NFE
• Settings and leaders of NFE
• The impact of COVID-19 on NFE The assessment was conducted in two phases; a remote survey conducted with educational actors and an in-community survey conducted with key informants across the NWSW. In total 16 partners were involved in either phase of the assessment with 87 communities surveyed remotely and 199 key informants from 21 communities surveyed in-person. As a result, this assessment can be considered to represent a reasonable cross-section of NFE provision across the NWSW.
• There has been a significant increase in access to NFE over the past year. 49% of partners and 67% of respondents report NFE starting within the past year with an estimated 13% of partners and 45% of respondents reporting children to be engaged in NFE.
• There are observable disparities in access to NFE with host community children more likely to access NFE than IDP children, and learners with disabilities, married girls and pregnant girls are least likely to access NFE.
• 84% of key informants felt that NFE spaces within their communities were safe. However, continuing risks for children accessing NFE include unsafe travel, the risk of detention, and the risk of COVID-19.
• The majority [64%] of NFE currently provided was reported as using distance teaching and learning approaches, particularly radio learning and e-learning.
• A third [33%] of NFE occurs at home or in churches, most often led by untrained and unpaid facilitators.