The Polytechnic School Caxito
Children’s School Caxito dates to 1986 when ADPP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, opened a home and school for children. Since 2011, the project has been operating the EPP program, while continuing to run a primary school for children from the surrounding communities. 286 students have graduated from EPP Caxito since the inception of the new program, 51 of them at the beginning of 2020.
EPP Caxito offers the courses of Energy Assistant, Modern Cook and Textile Artisan in addition to the national lower secondary school curriculum. The Textile Artisan course is proving to be popular among the students. ADPP’s polytechnic education, referred to as EPP, from the Portuguese Escola Polivalente e Profissional, was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to increase access to post-primary education, and to equip young people to contribute to development. The courses and curricula were approved by INIDE and the National Office of Technical and Professional Education.
The declaration of a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic put all activities at the school on hold from 24 March. The students returned to their homes, but not before the teachers had gathered contact details with a view to continuing training by way of distance learning.
When the State of Emergency was declared by the Angolan Government, causing all schools to close on 24 March, the school began organising distance learning by collecting contact details including telephone numbers and email addresses. The students who were boarding returned home while the day students remained at home.
The teachers prepared study tasks and other assignments, following a plan elaborated for each week to determine which subjects to study. Each class had a group page on WhatsApp for sending and receiving the tasks and a teacher responsible for the group. The tasks were sent every Friday, with the responses being returned by the students for correction the following Thursday. A list of students who had not responded was posted on the group page to encourage them to do so, and so everyone could see who had done what. The tasks themselves followed the format of DMM assignments, with an introduction, description, instructions and material in pdf form. There were both academic as well as practical tasks, such as checking energy consumption or making facemasks for the family according to a video of how to do so. The school called the parents and students once or twice a week to learn how they were progressing. The parents were very pleased about the concern shown by the school for the continued education of their children and collaborated with the system of receiving and returning study tasks. They even used the assignments for their other children. Activities involving the local community included a demonstration at the school about preventative measures to halt the spread of Covid-19. 20 families from Sassa, whose children attend the school, participated. In preparation for the opening of schools, a meeting was held for all staff at EPP Caxito to discuss the importance of everyone taking their responsibilities with the utmost gravity, including the wearing of facemasks, social distancing and hygiene. The school reorganised the classrooms to limit the number of students at any one time to 20, undertook thorough cleaning inside and out.