3. Empowering Education: Kumon and Ashinaga Collaborate to Transform Lives in Uganda

Empowering Education: Kumon and Ashinaga Collaborate to Transform Lives in Uganda

Uganda 2024.01.12

In a groundbreaking development, Rainbow House in Uganda has emerged as the first institution to introduce Kumon classes in the country, ushering in a new era of educational empowerment. With a global reputation, Kumon, founded in Japan in 1958, is a personalized learning method in mathematics and reading. Individualized worksheets tailored to every student enable learners of all ages to progress at their own pace, master fundamental concepts, and nurture robust problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. What is the overarching aim? To foster confident, independent learners, paving the way for a solid academic foundation and lifelong success.

As part of its collaboration with Ashinaga, the Kumon team visited the Ashinaga Uganda Rainbow House. Mr. Masamura, the representative of Kumon, outlined the objectives behind their visit: “Our mission is not merely to teach math; it’s about creating a global impact. We observed Terakoya  school and Kumon classes, seeking ways to enhance the learning experience. Our goal is to ensure the continuity of Kumon classes, even after the departure of Japanese exchange students. Moreover, we aspire to extend our reach to more students, equipping them with advanced study skills and empowering adults, including those at the Rainbow House Craft Club, with enhanced math knowledge to boost their ability to conduct better calculations for their sales and business.

Mr. Masamura’s words reflect Kumon’s profound commitment to making quality education accessible to all, regardless of economic disparities. “Math is a universal language; its application knows no boundaries. Strengthening math skills contributes to individual development and fuels progress in various fields. We aim to work with Ashinaga to nurture the finest math students in Uganda, potentially opening doors for higher education, perhaps even in Japan!”

Kumon classes started at Ashinaga Uganda four months ago, in May 2023, with 40 students from primary 4 and primary 5 at Ashinaga’s Terakoya school in Nansana. The Terakoya teachers took part in online trainings and workshops to learn how to facilitate and lead Kumon classes. Teacher Emmanuel described the first month of implementation: “The students’ introduction to iPads brought a new level of excitement and enjoyment to their classes, as they had never used this technology before. To assess their math skills and align the content with what Kumon classes provide, we conducted pilot sessions. Initially, they had to familiarize themselves with using iPads and logging into their sessions. However, they quickly mastered these skills, and now they handle everything independently.”

“They can perform calculations more swiftly and effortlessly, enhancing their mathematical abilities. Additionally, using iPads has enabled them to strengthen their focus and time management skills, given that all exercises are time-bound. Moreover, these classes have transformed their attitude towards mathematics. Many students who used to dislike math are now enthusiastic about attending classes and practicing their math skills. The Kumon classes have been incredible for the students’ growth. I wish it can be spread all over the country.”

During his visit, Mr. Masamura observed Kumon classes in Ashinaga Uganda, led by two Japanese exchange students: Nana and Nao who also trained local Terakoya teachers on Kumon learning methods. Mr. Masamura was deeply moved by the commitment and enthusiasm of the students: “The dedication of the Ashinaga Uganda students and the inspiring atmosphere created by the teachers here are truly commendable. Witnessing hard work and inspiring dreams reinforces our belief in the transformative power of education.”

These sentiments underscore the profound impact of Kumon’s approach and the dedication of both organizations to uplift communities through education. “Our collaboration with Ashinaga is pivotal. Together, we are not just imparting knowledge but lighting the path to a brighter future. Through Kumon, we aim to make learning accessible, enjoyable, and transformative for every student, ensuring that education catalyzes positive change in their lives and communities.”

This statement encapsulates the shared vision of Kumon and Ashinaga, illuminating the way forward for countless students in Uganda and beyond. The partnership between Kumon and Ashinaga is redefining education, one student at a time. Together, they nurture dreams, foster resilience, and empower generations with the knowledge and skills needed to build a brighter tomorrow. Mr. Masamura added, “I was genuinely inspired by the Ashinaga staff’s dedication to understanding the needs of the students and working tirelessly to support them. The children’s smiles and motivation here touched my heart, and I feel grateful to be able to contribute to their dreams.”

Mukite, one of the Kumon students at Ashinaga Uganda, expressed her gratitude to the Ashinaga and Kumon team for their support, “I want to thank Ashinaga and Kumon for introducing this learning method to us. Now, I can improve my calculation and Math skills. My dream is to be a journalist and news reporter, and thanks to the practice I do with Kumon classes, I feel more confident in my abilities to make my dream come true.”

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