The Impact of One-on-One Tutoring on Ugandan Public Education: Lit Review

One of the ongoing projects in my African Politics course is to develop a hypothetical research study to answer an unanswered question about sub-Saharan Africa, thereby creating new knowledge. One of the major steps in developing such a study is a literature review (or lit review, as college students often call it) – an examination of related work by past scholars, pointing out what has been discovered concerning a subject, and what has yet to be discovered. My study would test the effects of Invictus Institute’s tutoring sessions on students in Uganda (more to come later). Below is my lit review on the general topic of education in sub-Saharan Africa and interventions that could make it better.

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In 1996, President Yoweri Museveni accomplished something remarkable. After extensive discussion in “educational institutions, in the cabinet and at [the] parliamentary level,” Uganda adopted the Universal Primary Education program (Ndeezi 2000). Suddenly, the door to a life-changing service seemed wide open, even to the historically disadvantaged such as girls and children with disabilities.

As momentous as the occasion was, Museveni’s vision of “transformation and [modernization] of society through the elimination of illiteracy and the provision of Education For All” has yet to be fully realized (Ndeezi 2000). As ForeignCredits (an international translation firm) summarizes, “Despite its best intentions, there [are] few really free state schools in Uganda” (Uganda Education System 2012). Even if the government pays for schooling itself, parents are often left on their own to acquire uniforms, school supplies, meals, etc. that they simply cannot afford.

The operational outcomes have likewise been less than hoped for. According to recent statistics from UNESCO, while gross enrollment in pre-primary education has risen, it has fallen for primary and secondary levels. It should be noted, however, that their statistics are not measured over the same, consistent period. For example, from 2014 to 2015 pre-primary enrollment rose, but no data exists for primary or secondary enrollment during the same time span. Still, the data’s conclusions, while erratically dispersed over the years, are undeniable. Enrollment in upper education levels is dropping, implying the rise of incomplete educations (Lewin 2009, UNESCO 2017).

A more consistently reported operational outcome is Uganda’s illiterate population, which appears to be rising. Starting in 2010, the illiterate population increased for both of the population parameters set by UNESCO: men and women aged 15-24, and men and women aged 15 and older. Though UNESCO offers no explanation for these trends, one can infer that the previously mentioned predicament, falling enrollment, plays a part.  As children fail to enroll in primary/secondary education, they fail to learn how to read fully (UNESCO, 2017).

The current, shoddy state of public education in sub-Saharan Africa is particularly frustrating in light of research uncovering the many benefits of high-quality education. It has been found to strongly correlate with improved hygiene, nutrition, infant mortality rates, economic productivity, and sustainable fertility rates (Browne & Barrett 1991; Shapiro & Tenikue 2017; Shapiro 2012).

Hand in hand with these documented blessings from education is further research on how to rectify the schooling process. These prove similarly varied. Academic studies show positive impact ranging from mother-tongue instruction for dominant ethnic groups to greater concentrations of foreign aid (Ramachandran 2017, Riddell & Zarazua 2016, Yogo 2016).

Among the most ambitious studies on the matter is a meta-analysis conducted by Katharine M. Conn, wherein she analyzed “56 articles containing 66 separate experiments and quasi-experiments and 83 treatment arms” (Conn 2017, 863). Conn identified a dozen educational mediations, eventually discovering “that programs that alter teacher pedagogy or classroom instructional techniques had an effect size approximately 0.30 standard deviations greater than all other types of programs combined” (Conn 2017, 863).  She is by no means alone – other academic articles point out how vital teachers and their effectiveness at teaching can be (Dembélé & Lefoka 2007, Emoungu 1992).

An intervention not analyzed in Conn’s model, however, though closely related to teacher pedagogy, is one-on-one tutoring. Uganda, like many developing nations, faces massive teacher shortages, making hand-crafted attention for individual students nigh impossible (Ssekweyama 2017). Since academics widely agree that teacher development and pedagogical refreshing lead to better education, this untrodden avenue is worth exploring.

In all fairness, the impact of one-on-one tutoring has been extensively studied – just not in sub-Saharan Africa (as far as the author can tell). The opposite is true for the United States. Tutoring programs for several different American sub-groups have been analyzed, from first-graders to adolescents in juvenile correction facilities (Coulter 2004, Gilbert et al. 2013). Similarly diverse is the range of sample sizes. While Coulter’s article on “adjudicated youth” contains only 12 subjects, more statistically powerful groups of 64, 84, and a whopping 649 appear in further studies (Coulter 2004, 321, Gilbert et al. 2013, Houge and Geier 2009, Baker, Gersten, and Keating 2000).

In spite of the differing scopes among the studies listed in the previous paragraph, the overwhelming consensus is that one-on-one tutoring does help the program’s recipients academically. Furthermore, a meta-analysis akin to Katharine M. Conn’s published in the Review of Educational Research validates that consensus with an extensive array of research findings. The authors analyzed “21 studies (with 28 different study cohorts in those studies) reporting on randomized field trials” of assorted tutoring programs (Ritter et al. 2009). They concluded that “volunteer tutoring has a positive effect on student achievement,” particularly in regards to “letters and words, oral fluency, and writing” (Ritter et al. 2009, 3).

For Uganda, the most likely venue for such tutoring would be an NGO (Reimann 2006). Invictus Institute, for example, is a registered 501(c)(3) whose mission is to tutor students in developing nations via the Internet, thereby supplementing their education (Invictus Institute 2017). Given the fact that they already have ties to Uganda, they seem like an ideal match for such research (Beck 2016, Beck 2016).

To be fair, this approach is not without its challenges. Sub-Saharan Internet connectivity, for one thing, is notoriously unreliable by Western standards (Mail & Guardian Africa 2016, The State of Broadband 2015). A study of the effects of online, one-one-one tutoring would have to take such fluctuations into account during its concluding analysis.

Additionally, a 2009 article published in International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning found that online tutoring can pose several obstacles that may lower the quality of instruction (Muhirwa 2009). However, said article relied exclusively on qualitative data such as follow-up interviews and video recordings of the tutoring sessions. An empirically-based randomized control trial on the subject has yet to be developed (again, as far as the author can tell).

Which begs the following question: what quantifiable effect would online, NGO-facilitated tutoring have on public school students in Uganda, specifically regarding their academic performance?

Works Cited

“20 striking facts about digital, mobile and tech in Africa; including the ‘dictator’s dilemma’.” Mail & Guardian Africa. January 23, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://mgafrica.com/article/2016-01-22-20-facts-about-digital-in-africa.

Baker, Scott, Russell Gersten, and Thomas Keating. “When Less May Be More: A 2-Year Longitudinal Evaluation of a Volunteer Tutoring Program Requiring Minimal Training.” Reading Research Quarterly 35, no. 4 (2000): 494-519. http://www.jstor.org/stable/748095.

Beck, Kasey. “Mbirotono Primary School.” Invictus Institute. October 18, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.invictusinstitute.org/mbirontono-primary-school/.

Beck, Kasey. “Mukono, Uganda.” Invictus Institute. October 18, 2016. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.invictusinstitute.org/mukono-uganda/.

Browne, Angela W., and Hazel R. Barrett. “Female Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Key to Development?” Comparative Education 27, no. 3 (1991): 275-85. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3099297.

Conn, Katharine M. “Identifying Effective Education Interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis of Impact Evaluations.” Review of Educational Research 87, no. 5 (October 2017): 863-98. Accessed October 11, 2017. doi:10.3102/0034654317712025.

Coulter, Gail. “Using One-to-One Tutoring and Proven Reading Strategies to Improve Reading Performance with Adjudicated Youth.” Journal of Correctional Education 55, no. 4 (2004): 321-33. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23292097.

Dembélé, Martial, and Pulane Lefoka. “Pedagogical Renewal for Quality Universal Primary Education: Overview of Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa.” International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift Für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale De L’Education 53, no. 5/6 (2007): 531-53. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27715416.

“Education System in Uganda.” Uganda Education System. 2012. Accessed October 11, 2017. https://www.classbase.com/Countries/Uganda/Education-System.

Emoungu, Paul-Albert N. “Education and Primitive Accumulation in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Comparative Education 28, no. 2 (1992): 201-13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3099431.

Gilbert, Jennifer K., Donald L. Compton, Douglas Fuchs, Lynn S. Fuchs, Bobette Bouton, Laura A. Barquero, and Eunsoo Cho. “Efficacy of a First-Grade Responsiveness-to-Intervention Prevention Model for Struggling Readers.” Reading Research Quarterly 48, no. 2 (2013): 135-54. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41827182.

Houge, Timothy T., and Constance Geier. “Delivering One-to-One Tutoring in Literacy via Videoconferencing.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 53, no. 2 (2009): 154-63. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40344360.

“IVIMarketingBackgrounder.” Invictus Institute. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.invictusinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/IVIMarketingBackgrounder.pdf.

Lewin, Keith M. “Access to Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Patterns, Problems and Possibilities.” Comparative Education 45, no. 2 (2009): 151-74. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40593166.

Muhirwa, Jean-Marie. “Teaching and Learning Against all Odds: A Video-Based Study of Learner-to-Instructor Interaction in International Distance Education.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 10, no. 4 (September 2009). Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.irrodl.org.erl.lib.byu.edu/index.php/irrodl/article/view/628/1336.

Ndeezi, Alex. “Focus on Policy: Universal Primary Education in Uganda.” Enabling Education Network. 2000. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/news4/page7.php.

Ramachandran, Rajesh. “Language use in education and human capital formation: Evidence from the Ethiopian educational reform.” World Development 98 (October 2017): 195-213. Accessed October 11, 2017.

Reimann, Kim D. “A View from the Top: International Politics, Norms and the Worldwide Growth of NGOs.” International Studies Quarterly 50, no. 1 (2006): 45-67. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3693551.

Riddell, Abby, and Miguel Nino-Zarazua. “The effectiveness of foreign aid to education: What can be learned?” International Journal of Educational Development 48 (May 2016): 23-36. May 2016. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S073805931530016X.

Ritter, Gary W., Joshua H. Barnett, George S. Denny, and Ginger R. Albin. “The Effectiveness of Volunteer Tutoring Programs for Elementary and Middle School Students: A Meta-Analysis.” Review of Educational Research 79, no. 1 (2009): 3-38. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40071159.

Shapiro, David. “Women’s Education and Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 10 (2012): 9-30. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41940995.

Shapiro, David, and Michel Tenikue. “Women’s education, infant and child mortality, and fertility decline in rural and urban sub-Saharan Africa.” Demographic Research 37 (September 13, 2017): 669-708. September 13, 2017. Accessed October 11, 2017. doi:10.4054/demres.2017.37.21.

Ssekweyama, Ezekiel. “Teacher Shortage Drains Sembabule Schools.” Uganda Radio Network. March 13, 2017. Accessed October 11, 2017.  https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/teacher-shortage-drains-sembabule-schools.

The State of Broadband 2015. Report. September 2015. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.broadbandcommission.org/documents/reports/bb-annualreport2015.pdf.

“Uganda.” UNESCO UIS. April 12, 2017. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://uis.unesco.org/country/UG.

Yogo, Thierry Urbain. “Assessing the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid in the Education Sector in Africa: The Case of Primary Education.” African Development Review 29, no. 3 (September 18, 2017): 389-402. Accessed October 11, 2017. doi:10.1111/1467-8268.12276.

African State Governance Institutions: Comparing Two Ugandan Regimes

This semester, I have had the good fortune to enroll in an African Politics course, taught by BYU’s Dan Nielson. The following is an essay I recently wrote for the class on African political institutions, particularly state governance institutions. As Invictus Institute continues to expand their presence in Uganda and elsewhere, we will have to rely on state government’s cooperation and acceptance to best serve their people. This post examines the importance of state governments meeting the needs of their people, including education:

The key types of African political institutions are those dedicated to state governance. Although colonialism left a harsh legacy behind, evidence suggests these institutions are beginning to accept a factor critical to their longevity and are changing accordingly – meeting their citizens’ needs.

In the geopolitical spectrum, states remain king. Even the United Nations appears to acknowledge this, with Article 2 of its Charter enshrining state sovereignty’s inviolability (United Nations, 1945). This especially holds true throughout Africa. Overall, state governments across the continent are heavily centralized, with no illusions of separation of powers. Additionally, African state governments are often the primary bulwark for their respective labor markets, nationalizing commodity industries and granting government positions to supporters (The Economist 2011; Arriola 2009). Such dominance over day-to-day life makes governance institutions crucial.

Supremacy to this degree is no accident; it is one of the far-reaching aftereffects of European colonialism. This era of Africa’s history was marked with (generally speaking) iron-fisted, and oftentimes, vicious oppression of the majority by the ruling minority (Hochschild 1999; Stone 2001; Crowder 1964). Although some occasional, half-hearted attempts were made to integrate African natives into the governing process before independence, as Alex Thomson states, “liberal democracy had no historical foundations in Africa” (Thomson 2010, 26). Yet newly independent African countries were “expected instantly to create a political culture that could support these pluralist political institutions” upon declaring independence (Thomson 2010, 27). With nothing but autocratic rule in their cultural memory, it is no surprise that this domineering legacy from European colonists survived, and lives on to this day.

However, while it is a controversial matter, evidence is beginning to surface that this may be changing (Strohecker 2016; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 2016). Signs suggest that some oppressive regimes are starting to realize the essential factor to staying in power – ensuring their populace’s needs are met.

One example is Yoweri Museveni’s reign in Uganda. While not a democratic regime by any stretch of the imagination, Museveni’s government seems to understand this principle and is, at the very least, attempting to live by it. In 1996 Museveni adopted Uganda’s Universal Primary Education (UPE), opening the door for all children to attend school (Ndeezi 2000). Since coming to power, Uganda has experienced steady drops in child mortality and pregnancy-related maternal deaths (Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2017). In terms of anecdotal evidence, Professor Nielson has remarked that new roads and stoplights continue to spring up in provinces that did not support Museveni in their so-called elections. Though there is certainly more work to be done with Uganda’s social services, Museveni is at least trying to fill societal gaps his citizens keep falling through.

Conversely, one of Museveni’s predecessors stands as an example of what happens to rulers who do not meet the people’s needs: Idi Amin. After overthrowing Milton Obote, Amin “made little attempt to build institutions or links with civil society” (Thomson 2010, 148). Instead, he chose to consolidate resources in a militaristic tyranny. By all appearances, Amin viewed the people’s needs as irrelevant, relying on strength of arms to maintain office. As a result, when Tanzanian forces marched in to overthrow him, they did so handily. This was in large part because “Amin’s government was always weak, having never tried to legitimize its rule through linking state and civil society” (Thomson 2010, 150).

As a Cameroonian proverb summarizes, “the mouth that eats does not speak” (Bayart 1993). If Africa’s state governance institutions choose to live by this credo and fulfill their people’s needs, they should enjoy stability; more stable, equitable governance should consequently lead to a more stable, prosperous Africa.

Works Cited

Arriola, Leonardo R. “Patronage and Political Stability in Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 42, no. 10 (October 1, 2009): 1339-362. February 27, 2009. Accessed October 26, 2017. doi:10.1177/0010414009332126.

“A debate that will persist.” The Economist. December 03, 2011. Accessed October 26, 2017. http://www.economist.com/node/21541040.

Cited in Bayart, Jean-Francois. The State of Africa: The Politics of the Belly. London: Longman, 1993. 188.

“Combating Corruption Improving Governance in Africa.” United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. 2016. Accessed October 26, 2017. https://www.uneca.org/publications/combating-corruption-improving-governance-africa.

Crowder, Michael. “Indirect Rule: French and British Style.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 34, no. 3 (1964): 197 205. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1158021.

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. 1st ed. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Ndeezi, Alex. “Focus on Policy: Universal Primary Education in Uganda.” Enabling Education Network. 2000. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/news4/page7.php.

Stone, D. “White men with low moral standards? German anthropology and the Herero genocide.” Patterns of Prejudice 35, no. 2 (2001): 33-45. December 7, 2010. Accessed October 26, 2017. doi:10.1080/003132201128811133.

Strohecker, Karin. “Africa struggles to improve governance in past decade: Ibrahim survey.” Reuters. October 03, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2017. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-governance/africa-struggles-to-improve-governance-in-past-decade-ibrahim-survey-idUSKCN12310Y.

Thomson, Alex. An Introduction to African Politics. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2010.

Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and ICF. 2017. Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2016: Key Indicators Report. Kampala, Uganda: UBOS, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: UBOS and ICF.

United Nations, “Charter of the United Nations.” United Nations. October 24, 1945. Accessed October 26, 2017. http://www.unwebsite.com/charter.

Realizing Dreams

A person’s dreams can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be reasonably ambitious, such as publishing a book or starting a successful business. They can be wild, like scaling the Seven Summits or qualifying for the Olympics. They can also be more down to earth, such as the author’s dream of living in a home with a dishwasher so as not to wash dishes by hand.

During Hamis Mugendawala’s childhood, one down to earth dream likely consisted of basic school supplies; he would be literally down to earth writing in the dust. Pencils and paper were not an option. And while growing up in a poor, illiterate family in Uganda, higher education probably felt like another impossibility.

That dream, however, eventually became a reality. Hamis eventually made it to Makerke University, and University of London, and later to the University of Southampton UK, where he received a PhD. Those credentials propelled him to a position with the Parliament of Uganda. It was there, in 2007, that he received a message that would forever change his life.

The message was an email from Kasey Beck, founder of Invictus Institute. At the time, however, Kasey was one of several undergraduate students on a service trip to Uganda. At one point on the venture, Kasey emailed the Ugandan parliament, asking if the group could meet with members and other high-ranking officials.

“Fortunately I happened to be the only one that responded,” Hamis recalls. After meeting Kasey and the rest of the group in person, Hamis organized visits with various Ugandan politicians. It was then that Hamis and Kasey’s friendship began to take form, particularly over conversations about Africa’s political landscape. “He had too much interest…and so did I,” Hamis jokes.

Those conversations turned to the impoverished conditions of so many Ugandan citizens. Kasey was especially affected by seeing people in his own age group stuck in such unfortunate circumstances. Eventually, his melancholy prompted a piercing question to Hamis: “What do you think we can do to help young people realize their dreams?”

Hamis was so struck he could not given an immediate answer. “But,” he affirms, “I later told him that ‘through education.'” With that answer in mind they undertook their first enterprise of educational improvement. After identifying five remote schools, “we designed a fairly comprehensive program,” he explains, “with some financial support from one of the local MPs to retrain teachers on various aspects and the headteacher on effective leadership.” Despite working with only a handful of schools, their endeavors generated an overwhelming amount of buzz. “Since then we have never looked back.”

After Kasey returned to the states, he and Hamis continued to deliberate on how to assist young people with formal educational support, especially those from poor backgrounds. Their own lack of resources complemented the lack of resources felt by so many young students, ranging from supplies to no reliable source of additional help with schooling, leaving them stranded in scarcity. “This is when the idea of online tutoring started,” Hamis recollects, and thus Invictus Institute was born.

The work moved slowly yet persistently at first, with Kasey assembling volunteers in the states and Hamis coordinating activities in Uganda. “Seeing children who originally could not speak English and do maths become very competent in these subjects,” inspired him, he states. Finally, Invictus Institute became a registered 501(c)(3) in the U.S. In addition to Uganda, the online mentoring program has spread to Bangladesh and India, and will soon be implemented in Ethiopia, Ghana, Solomon Islands, South Africa, and Vanuatu.

Today, Hamis wears several different hats within the organization. His responsibilities include recruiting schools and students for the program, forming partnerships in Uganda and beyond, organizing Ugandan volunteers to set up the necessary electronic equipment on their end, and research. In all of that time, Invictus Institute has surpassed all of his initial expectations. “It is beyond imagination, he admits. “My original thought was that it was to be confined to Uganda but surprisingly it is going places. I can’t comprehend how we have done it.”

He credits Invictus Institute’s establishment in two different continents, Africa and Asia, as its greatest success, and envisions it spreading to yet another continent: Latin America. Additionally, he foresees strong, stable partnerships with numerous organizations, including the nations’ governments. Realizing that vision, he predicts, will be accomplished by continuing to tell Invictus Institute’s story, crafting a concrete strategy, and seeking greater funding.

Invictus Institute’s dream is a world full of well-educated, responsible youngsters prepared to enrich their lives and their developing countries. With the memories of his difficult background in mind, Hamis Mugendawala is happy to be turning that dream into a reality. “My personal history creates this thirst to make a contribution to this noble cause,” he declares, a cause that owes him many thanks for its progress.

 

 

 

 

Mukono, Uganda

You can probably tell that I’m doing a lot of blog-catching up right now.

We started a tutoring program with a school in Mukono, Uganda in January ’16. When I went to Uganda in 2007 we stayed in Mukono and did a lot of volunteer work there, I love that place! I got to know Nantumbwe Haspher who is the headmaster of Bright Future Infant School. Haspher is a very impressive lady who cares so much about her students. She’s a great partner to have; we will have lots of success growing our tutoring program with her school. Below are two letters we received from Drake and Hildah. Their tutors are teaching them biology and chemistry!

 

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Mbirontono Primary School

We’ve started a tutoring program with Mbirontono Primary School in the Wakiso District in Uganda. The tutors are college student volunteers and we are grateful for the service they are putting into this. Our tutors meet with their students weekly through Skype, Google Hangout, or Facebook, and help the student internalize what they are learning in school. Other results of the consistent tutoring include improvements in English and conversational skills as well an increased desire to try hard in school. We love starting new programs and seeing the growth in the students we tutor. I also love talking with the tutors and hearing how much they love the program and helping their students.

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Patience and Beckie

Patience is one of our best success stories. She joined our program towards the end of her primary school. She is now in her final year of her lower secondary. Patience is tutored by Emily K., one of our most talented tutors. Patience has been tutored in English, Maths, Geography, Biology, Physics, Commerce, and Literature. She is also being helped to write music and she has a few songs that she has done. Patience reports that she has greatly improved her performance due to the tutorial program. Prior to the program, Patience would hardly construct a correct English sentence and she was struggling in Maths, said her former teacher. She was also shy but now she is confident to talk with people, says her mother. A lot has happened to Patience on joining the program. Foremost, Patience passed in division one (Distinction) in her primary to join secondary. Although she has never gotten any of her end of term report since joining secondary school due to school fees problems, her teachers have indicated that she has always had very good marks. I saw some of the marked scripts and she remains in the top 10%. Asked to comment on the tutorial program, Patience smiles and later says “It has helped me to improve on my studies and has also helped me learn new words”. “I like learning English and also being updated of what happens in the USA”. On what else she would want to gain out of the program, she says “I want to visit my tutor or her to visit me”. Asked to comment on some of the weaknesses of the program, Patience hesitates and then says “we experience a problem of internet network”. Patience praises her tutor so much and she says Emily is one of her greatest mentors. I personally believe that Patience will turn into a great inspirational leader.

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Beckie, as she is commonly known, is a very talented young girl in primary four (P4). She joined IVI tutorial program when she was in pre-school and at the time she was learning to speak. She has an amazing and very patient tutor Andy C. whom she believes is her second dad. She is being tutored in Math, English and Science. She says that the program has helped her learn to speak English and improve in her regular classwork. She hints that she has learned new words and learned how to correctly pronounce the words from a native speaker, which she thinks is a rare opportunity. From the program, she loves mostly the methods used and the jokes that her tutor makes during the tutorial. Looking at Beckie’s reports for the last 3 years leaves one wondering of the talent this girl has. Beckie has always been no.1 all the way. Whereas she is average in Maths, she has never gotten below 90% in English. She says she doesn’t want Andy to stop teaching her because he is like her second dad.

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Growing

We added an additional tutor and student which means it’s finally time to bump up our data plan in Uganda. This will also allow us to bring on a few more students and tutors. We are also in the early stages of setting up penpals between U.S. and Uganda classrooms.

Hello World!

Hello world! I’ve been meaning to start this blog for awhile now. I’m excited to get Invictus Institute up and going, there is a lot of good we can do.

A short introduction about me- I’m Kasey Beck, founder of Invictus Institute. IVI started in my head almost 7 years ago when I went to volunteer in Uganda. That experience had a profound effect on me. I made a lot of goals–one of them to start a non-profit so that I could contribute to helping the world be a better place. Here are a few of my blog posts from that experience:

http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/05/mzungu-so-im-here-in-uganda-we-arrived_05.html
http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/05/poop-poo-agie-somebody-in-our-group.html
http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/05/parliament-each-week-just-gets-better.html
http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/05/blonde-kid-from-iowa-personally-i-dont.html
http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/05/blonde-kid-from-iowa-personally-i-dont.html
http://councilbluffs.blogspot.com/2007/06/24-tick-tock-tick-tock-i-think-im-first.html

I came home from Uganda wanting to make a difference. In 2010, my friend in Uganda, Hamis Mugendawala, and I came up with a few ideas of how we can help the situation in Uganda. We started arranging for a college student here in the U.S. to tutor a primary school student over Skype. It has slowly been growing so we are able to tutor more students. We started calling this program Tech Tutors. It’s not going to be the only program we do but it’s been a good one to start with as it has made a difference in the lives of the Ugandan students.

I know it sounds cliche, but very simply, I just want IVI to contribute making the world a better place, even if it’s just in a small way. I have some big dreams for IVI. I’m not exactly sure what it will morph into. But I am very dedicated to this organization and very excited to see how this plays out.