Double-shift schooling

‘In a double-shift system, school cater for two entirely separate groups of pupils during a school day. The first group of pupils usually attends school from early-morning until mid-day, and the second group usually attends from mid-day to late afternoon. Each group uses same buildings, equipment, and other facilities. In some systems, the two groups are taught by the same teachers, but in other systems, they are taught by different teachers.’ (Bray, 2008 cited by IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, n.d.).

There are different models of double-shift schooling depending on the context:

  • ‘End-on’ shifts: this is the most common double-shift system, based on the principle that one group is in class in the morning, and another group replace it in the afternoon.
  • Overlapping shifts: groups arrive and leave at different time during the day but can be at school at the same time.
  • Variation of school week length: when double-shift schooling is implemented in a school, students can study on Saturdays. They have almost the same number of hours in class as children in single shift schooling.
  • Shared teachers: depending on the shortage of teachers they can teach either only one shift, or both during the day.
  • Shared level of education: some double-shift systems gather several levels in both shifts (in the case of end-on systems).
  • Day and boarding schools: in schools with boarding facilities, shifts can be organized in a more flexible way, since some students do not have to go back home at the end of the day.
  • Urban and rural system: double-shift schooling is more common in urban areas; yet, it can also be organized in rural schools when there is a shortage of teachers for instance.
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly rotation: shifts can be organized in different time frames, but this is quite uncommon.
  • Classes for children and adults: children go to school during daytime and adults take classes in the evening.
  • Borrowed and rented premises: in private and community schools, community members can use the school space in order to organize ‘informal’ classrooms for students. 

Despite the few references found on the subject, Bray’s publication and its review from Orkodashvili stress some strategies which policy-makers can follow in order to implement double-shift schooling.

Bray (2008) describes diverse factors which can justify the implementation of double-shift schooling:

  • To increase the supply of school places while avoiding serious strain on the budget.
  • To broaden access and hence achieve social equity.
  • To use scarce human resources better: where there is a shortage of teachers, staff may be encouraged to teach in more than one session.
  • To increase salaries of teachers by giving them opportunity to work in two sessions.
  • To reduce opportunity costs for pupils by catering for those who have to work during the day.
  • To reduce overcrowding class size and alleviate pressure on sports facilities, libraries, school canteens, etc. (Bray, 2000: 12).

Although double-shift allows more children to access school, it has been criticized as findings regarding educational achievement for children in double-shift schools are not consistent and –in some countries– they have been affected due to shortened instruction time (UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2010). Yet, in multiple contexts and due to the lack of resources, such policy might be necessary temporarily to ensure education for all. In such scenarios the efficacy of the policy will rely on an efficient management and implementation of the system (Bray, 2008). 

References
Bray, M. 2008. Double Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. 3rd Edition. Paris: IIEP – UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/001636/163606e.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. n.d. Double-shift System. Accessed 16 June 2021: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/fr/node/5339

Orkodashvili, M. 2009. Double – shift schooling and EFA goals: assessing economic, educational and social impacts. Nashville: Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23519/1/Double_shift_schooling_and_EFA_Goals_assessing_economic_educational_and_social_impacts_pdf

UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report. 2010. Reaching the marginalized. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000186525

Promising policy options

Choose the most adapted model and schooling timetable

Defining the hours of schooling (at what time the day starts and finishes) and increasing the number of school days per year as compensation for the shorter days included in this system. In order to guarantee children have sufficient hours of schooling per year, it is important to study and choose consciously the type of double-shift system to implement, among all the existing possibilities.

Management structures and teacher support

Recruitment and training of qualified personnel are fundamental for a double-shift schooling system to work. Teaching several shifts can be more exhausting and engenders specific difficulties for teachers to be aware of and trained about.

Teachers can work only for one shift or for multiple ones. This has to do with the qualification but also with the salary of teachers. Provision of teacher aids, supervision and support systems such as peer teaching is fundamental in order to make them feel more confident and supported in their work.

Increase out-of-school learning

In double-shifts systems, children spend less time in class than children spending all day at school. In order to compensate for this difference, it is important to make possible for children to study out of school. There are different strategies to implement – independently or together – to make it possible: homework, assignments, good textbooks, and parental guidance.

Effective use of infrastructures

Provide extra-rooms in school to do homework and remedial work and use of other community’s facilities (sports field, hall, libraries…). This enables pupils to learn outside the classroom, in an adapted environment where they can concentrate. At home, indeed, children may have other distractions which can prevent them from focusing on school work.

Communication and sensitization

Ensure community members of the positive impact of such reforms on double-shift schooling. Governments must be persistent and determined in order to make the people used to the idea of double-shift schooling.

Widespread implementation

Guarantee large-scale implementation in order for disadvantaged groups not to feel discriminated against or punished. It should be equally implemented in poor and rich communities. Governments should be careful with the implementation of pilot projects in order not to make some communities feel that they are discriminated against.

References
Bray, M. 2008. Double Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. 3rd Edition. Paris: IIEP – UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/001636/163606e.pdf

Orkodashvili, M. 2009. Double – shift schooling and EFA goals: assessing economic, educational and social impacts. Nashville: Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23519/1/Double_shift_schooling_and_EFA_Goals_assessing_economic_educational_and_social_impacts_pdf

RENCP (Rwanda Education NGO Cooperation Platform). 2010. Double-Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. Kigali: RENCP. Retrieved from: http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Double-Shift-Policy.pdf

Other policy options

“End-on” shifts and “overlapping shifts”

“End-on” shifts and “overlapping shifts” are the two main models applied in double-shift schooling. This is why it can be useful to compare them and see which one can adapt the most to one specific context.

End-on shifts are when one group of pupils leaves the school before the second one begins the class. This system divides school day into two sessions: from early morning to mid-day, and from mid-day to late afternoon.

  • Advantages: two independent schools with separate students, maximum financial savings and conditions, simple preparation of timetable.
  • Disadvantages: lack of cohesion, inflexible use of staff, difficult staff co-ordination, afternoon group feeling disadvantaged, number of hours in class too limited since the school days may not be increased accordingly.

Overlapping shifts is when student groups are taught at different times during the school day but at some point, they are all gathered within the school infrastructures.

  • Advantages: cohesion, flexible use of staff, easier staff co-ordination, less feeling of being disadvantaged.
  • Disadvantages: Congestion of school compound reduced financial savings and/or unsatisfactory conditions. Climate factors play more strongly (rain, heat), complex preparation of timetable, “untidy” and “disruptive” students arriving at different times of the day.
References
Bray, M. 2008. Double Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. 3rd Edition. Paris: IIEP – UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/001636/163606e.pdf

Orkodashvili, M. 2009. Double – shift schooling and EFA goals: assessing economic, educational and social impacts. Nashville: Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23519/1/Double_shift_schooling_and_EFA_Goals_assessing_economic_educational_and_social_impacts_pdf

RENCP (Rwanda Education NGO Cooperation Platform). 2010. Double-Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. Kigali: RENCP. Retrieved from: http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Double-Shift-Policy.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Choose the most adapted model and schooling timetable

Implementing flexible delivery modes, such as double-shift schooling, could help ‘boost enrolment by accommodating children’s work, making it easier for children to care for younger siblings, do chores, or even work for wages while enrolled in school’ (Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016: 146). Although this policy option does raise up many questions, for many children, this might be the most realistic option in order to enjoy an educational opportunity. For example, Bangladesh’s BRAC schools, which operate only 2.5 hours daily, have allowed drop-out figures to stay below 1 percent of enrolled students (Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016).

In other contexts, where cultural particularities do not allow girls and boys to attend the same school and there is a shortage of school facilities, double-shift schooling could be a solution. For instance, Pakistan implemented double-shift schooling in rural areas in order to tackle down the shortage of schools for girls (UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia, 2014).

References
Rosati, F. C.; Lyon, S. 2006. Non-Formal education approaches for child labourers: An issue paper. UCW (Understanding Children’s Work). http://www.ucw-project.org/attachment/standard_NFE_and_CL_17nov2006.pdf

Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/What-Works-in-Girls-Educationlowres.pdf

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. 2014. All Children in School By 2015, Global Initiative On Out-Of-School Children: South Asia Regional Study Covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Kathmandu: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. Retrieved from: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/GlobalInitiativeOnOut-Of-SchoolChildren.pdf

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Choose the most adapted model and schooling timetable

There is a significant lack of research regarding the effects of a double-shift schooling system on children with disabilities’ access to schooling and their learning achievements in mainstream settings. Yet, in certain contexts and under certain factors –such as an elevated pupil to teacher ratio– educational planners could study the possibility of implementing such a policy (UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, 2014).

Multiple studies show contradictory and insufficient findings concerning the learning achievements of children in double-shift schools. Thus, Ministries of Education should track the progress of children with disabilities enrolled in this type of school and make necessary accommodations accordingly (PASEC CONFEMEN, 2015). Additionally, a possible solution to compensate for the reduced instruction time could be to increase the number of school days per year. This measure could lead to learning advantages for children with certain disabilities for whom long breaks widen their learning achievement gap (Sellors, 2017; Zachry, n.d.).

References
PASEC CONFEMEN (Programme d’Analyse des Systèmes Éducatifs de la Conférence des ministres de l’Éducation des États et gouvernements de la Francophonie). 2015. PASEC 2014 Education System Performance In Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa: Competencies and Learning Factors in Primary Education. Dakar: PASEC CONFEMEN. Retrieved from: http://www.pasec. confemen.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Rapport_Pasec2014 _GB_webv2.pdf

Sellors, A. 2017. How Do Year-Round School Calendars Affect Students With a Learning Disability? Accessed 19 July 2019: https://classroom.synonym.com/yearround-school-calendars-affect-students-learning-disability-16738.html

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. 2014. All Children in School By 2015, Global Initiative On Out-Of-School Children: South Asia Regional Study Covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Kathmandu: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. Retrieved from: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/GlobalInitiativeOnOut-Of-SchoolChildren.pdf

Zachry, A. n.d. ‘Potential Effects of Summer Break on Student with Disabilities’. In: Special Ed Information for Teachers & Parents, Bright Hub Education. Accessed 19 July 2019: https://www.brighthubeducation.com/parents-and-special-ed/75880-effect-of-summer-break-on-students-with-disabilities/

Widespread implementation

As mentioned in the general section, it is of utmost importance to guarantee large-scale implementation, so that this system is not applied solely to the most disadvantaged groups, such as children with disabilities.

References
Linden, T. 2001. Double-shift Secondary Schools: Possibilities and Issues. Washington, D.C: The World Bank. Retrieved from : http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099079967208/Double_shift_secondary_schools_En01.pdf

Policies for displaced populations

Promising policy options

Widespread implementation

As mentioned in the general section, it is of utmost importance to guarantee large-scale implementation, so that the double-shift system is not applied solely to the most disadvantaged groups, such as displaced students (Bray, 2008).

References
Bray, M. 2008. Double Shift Schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. 3rd Edition. Paris: IIEP – UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/001636/163606e.pdf

Double-shift schooling to increase access to mainstream education for displaced populations

Implementing a double-shift system can be a cost-efficient strategy when there is a lack of infrastructure, when funds to build new schools or classrooms are not available, when pupil-teacher ratios are high, or when there is no space to build new schools or classrooms, among others. Indeed, by allowing the use of existing facilities and furniture, double-shift schooling has the potential to increase access of displaced students to mainstream settings (Kelcey, Guven and Burde, 2022; Murwanjama and Mureu, n.d.; Save the Children, 2018).

Various countries have implemented this strategy to receive a large influx of displaced populations in public schools (UNESCO, 2018; Christophersen, 2015; Jordan, 2018; Kelcey, Guven and Burde, 2022). In Jordan for example ‘double-shift schools have become the main tool for providing education to Syrian children and youth’ (Chistophersen, 2015). This strategy has also been implemented in Lebanon to provide education to Syrian refugees (UNESCO, 2018; Kelcey, Guven and Burde, 2022). In Kenya, access to education has been doubled through the Two Schools in One programme, which implements double-shifts to use existing school infrastructure, furniture, and materials in refugee camps efficiently (Murwanjama and Mureu, n.d.; Windle, n.d.).

Overall, although double-shift schooling ensures increased access to mainstream settings, it is key to complement it with various strategies and careful implementation to ensure the quality of education is not jeopardised (read next subsection for more information).

To explore further

For more information about the Two Schools in One initiative, consult:

References
Windle. n.d. Two schools in One: Managing High Enrolment in Refugee Secondary Schools. Accessed 7 December 2021: http://windle.org/education_two%20schools_in_one.html
References
Christophersen, M. 2015. Securing Education for Syrian Refugees in Jordan. New York: International Peace Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.ipinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IPI-E-pub-Securing-Education-for-Syrian-Refugees.pdf

Jordan. 2018. Ministry of Education. Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022. Amman: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: https://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ressources/jordan_esp_2018-2022_0.pdf

Kelcey, J.; Guven, O.; Burde, D. 2022. ‘2. Education on the Move: How Migration Affects Learning Outcomes’. In: Learning, Marginalization, and Improving the Quality of Education in Low-income Countries. UK: Open Book Publishers. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0256
 
Murwanjama, J.; Mureu, P. n.d. TWO SCHOOLS IN ONE: Management of high enrolment in refugee secondary schools. Retrieved from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/583af1fb414fb5b3977b6f89/t/59bdb91b8dd041cfeeec8aef/1505605917181/15_PromisingPractices_Windle+Trust_WEB.pdf

Save the Children. 2018. Time to Act. A costed plan to deliver quality education to every last refugee child. London: Save the Children United Kingdom. Retrieved from: https://www.savethechildren.net/sites/default/files/Time%20to%20act%20report_online.pdf

UNESCO. 2018. Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, Displacement and Education – Building Bridges, not Walls. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265866

Windle. n.d. Two schools in One: Managing High Enrolment in Refugee Secondary Schools. Accessed 7 December 2021: http://windle.org/education_two%20schools_in_one.html

Policies to improve the quality of double-shift schooling for displaced populations

Although double-shift has the potential to increase access, it is key to ensure that it does not affect the quality of educational opportunities provided to displaced populations. To do so, various strategies should be put in place such as hiring different teachers for each shift and providing quality working conditions, extending the schooling year, providing the same resources to the different shifts, and carefully planning social cohesion activities among students.

Decision-makers and planners must keep in mind that double-shift programmes that hire the same teachers for both shifts have been highly criticized, as teachers ‘report being overworked’ and can lead to ‘undermin[ing] the provision of good quality education and learning outcomes’ (Dryden-Peterson and Adelman, 2016; Woods, 2007, as cited in Global Education Monitoring Report Team and UNHCR, 2016: 9). To ensure that quality learning opportunities for all displaced populations are not compromised, double-shift programmes should hire more teaching staff, and guarantee that different teachers are responsible for each shift (UNESCO, 2019). This has been implemented in Kenya’s Two Schools in One initiative (Save the Children, 2018). For more strategies on how to increase the teaching workforce, consult the Policy page Appropriate teacher candidates.

Double-shift systems can also explore other strategies such as ‘pairing more experienced or specialised teachers with less qualified (often locally recruited) teachers across shifts, and exploring options for co-teaching and collaborative lesson preparation and student assessment, teachers will be able to utilise their time more effectively’ (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020: 100). While this type of action can be tested, decision-makers and planners must guarantee that qualified teachers are being placed in both shifts so that no population gets particularly impaired. Working conditions, incentives, training, among others should also be provided on an equitable basis to teachers in both shifts (IIEP-UNESCO, 2021). Moreover, when resources and a qualified teaching workforce are available, each shift, particularly in early grades, should be provided in mother tongue instruction (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020).

Reduced teaching and learning time should also be compensated so that the quality of education is not affected (UNESCO, 2010; Bengtsson et al., 2021). This can be done by extending the schooling year or adding more schooling days in a week. This was previously implemented by the Ministry of Education of Jordan, where a six-day school week aimed to balance the reduced classroom time due to double-shift schooling (Christophersen, 2015). Yet, due to resource constraints, the Ministry of Education has not been able to reinstate this strategy again (Christophersen, 2015).

Providing the necessary funds to implement this kind of strategy meticulously is of utmost importance, and should be done with the support of international partners. Indeed, to provide equitable, quality learning opportunities for all, the same resources and the same opportunities must be given to all students in both shifts. In this regard, a double-shift girls’ school in Zarqa, Jordan, ensured that ‘everything from resources and training, to events, that were available in the morning, were also made available during the afternoon shift, and vice versa.’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2021: 1).

Finally, to foster an adequate school climate conducive to learning, double-shift strategies should be carefully planned, implemented and complemented with social cohesion strategies between displaced populations and host communities (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020). This is particularly important when there is a stark separation between shifts, impeding the possibility for displaced populations and host communities to meet and build relationships. For instance, a strategy to address this issue is to implement ‘some joint classes between the shifts’ (Chistophersen, 2015: 18). This has already been employed in a double-shift boy’s school in Zarqa, Jordan, where the principal decided to ‘mix Jordanian and Syrian students in the afternoon shift, to promote social cohesion’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2021: 1). To be successful, these actions should be accompanied by inclusive teaching, as well as a welcoming and respectful environment (for more information consult the Policy page School climate).

References
Bengtsson, S.; Fitzpatrick, R.; Thibault, C.; West, H. 2021. Teacher management in refugee settings: Public schools in Jordan. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379193?posInSet=7&queryId=76e4218e-0c4a-4802-958c-3e974285cd38

Christophersen, M. 2015. Securing Education for Syrian Refugees in Jordan. New York: International Peace Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.ipinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IPI-E-pub-Securing-Education-for-Syrian-Refugees.pdf

Global Education Monitoring Report Team; UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). 2016. Policy Paper 26: No more excuses: provide education to all forcibly displaced people. Paris: UNSECO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244847

IIEP-UNESCO. 2021. 3 ways Jordanian teachers of refugees are going above and beyond. Accessed 10 March 2022: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/3-ways-jordanian-teachers-refugees-are-going-above-and-beyond-13935

IIEP-UNESCO; UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); Education Development Trust. 2020. Teacher management in refugee settings: Ethiopia. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373686

Save the Children. 2018. Time to Act. A costed plan to deliver quality education to every last refugee child. London: Save the Children United Kingdom. Retrieved from: https://www.savethechildren.net/sites/default/files/Time%20to%20act%20report_online.pdf

UNESCO. 2010. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Reaching the Marginalized. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. Enforcing the right to education of refugees: a policy perspective. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366839

Policies for minority populations

All of the policy options mentioned in the previous categories apply to minority populations as well. Given the lack of available data regarding double-shift programmes serving minority populations, it is key to collect data through monitoring systems and ensure the impact of this type of policy on minority populations’ learning outcomes.

Promising policy options

Widespread implementation

Even though there is a current lack of recent research and data regarding double-shift programmes serving minority populations, historical investigations have shown that, in many countries, double-shift programmes have served minority students in particular. For example, after the independence of Zimbabwe, schools serving Europeans, Asians and coloured students were known as Group A, and those serving black students were known as Group B (Bray, 2008). Research highlighted that twenty years after independence, double-shift schooling was more prevalent ‘in former Group B than in former Group A schools’ (Nhundu, 2000 as cited in Bray, 2009: 64). This was also the case in the United States as highlighted by activists in various reports during the 1950s and 1960s, showing the prevalence of double-shift schools in black neighbourhoods (Coons, 1961 as cited in ASHP-CML, 2022). In Namibia, as well, double-shift schooling  ‘was perceived to perpetuate racial as well as class inequalities’ (Kleinhans,  2002 as cited in Bray, 2009: 64). All of this historical evidence emphasises the importance of guaranteeing large scale implementations, as mentioned in the general section, so that double-shift systems are not applied solely to the most disadvantaged groups, and more importantly that their impact is constantly assessed to avoid any impact on students’ learning outcomes (Bray, 2008).

References
ASHP – CML (American Social History Project – Center for Media and Learning). 2022. Map of Chicago’s “Double Shift Schools,” 1961. Accessed 9 March 2022: https://shec.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1345

Bray, M. 2008. Double-shift schooling. Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000163606

Complement reduced teaching and learning time for minority populations

Reduced teaching and learning time should also be compensated so that the quality of education provided to minority populations is not affected (UNESCO, 2010). This can be done by extending the schooling year or adding more schooling days in a week. It can also be done through before and after school and summer learning programmes (Darling-Hammond and Cook-Harvey, 2018). Indeed, research findings of a meta-analysis of 93 summer programmes showed that summer programmes have ‘positive impacts on knowledge and skills for students from middle-income and low-income families’ (Darling-Hammond and Cook-Harvey, 2018). Given that in many cases minority students come from underprivileged families, it is key to target them in particular through this kind of initiative.

References
Darling-Hammond, L.; Cook-Harvey, C.M. 2018. Educating the Whole Child: Improving School Climate to Support Student Success. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/educating-whole-child

UNESCO. 2010. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Reaching the Marginalized. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf
Updated on 2022-03-13

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