The Rwanda Education Board (Reb) has developed world-class print and audio materials to support P1 and P2 level English, Kinyarwanda, and mathematics learning.
It is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) through its Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative meant to improve the quality of primary education in the country.
The project, that begins this month, is set to benefit more than 2,600 public and government-aided primary schools across the country, according to Reb.
The L3 Initiative, implemented by Education Development Centre (EDC), is meant to provide detailed teacher guides that illustrate proven strategies for developing children’s literacy and numeracy skills, a joint statement says.
Kinyarwanda teachers will have a collection of illustrated stories to read aloud to children every week, and all children will have their own Kinyarwanda and English materials to read in class and to take home to read with their families, the statement reads in part.
Audio programmes for Kinyarwanda, English and mathematics will also be played in classrooms using simple cell phones and portable speakers.
This year, 35,500 teacher guides and story collections, over 12,000 phones and speakers, and 6.3 million student readers will be distributed.
“These materials will contribute to quality education in Rwanda by supplementing the current curricula,” Dr Joyce Musabe, head of Reb’s curriculum department said.
She appealed to teachers to embrace the changes.
“All education stakeholders –District and Sector Education Officers, teachers and head teachers, parents and others—should support this new and exciting shift in Rwandan education,” she said.
The materials support the development of key literacy and numeracy skills in an interactive way, according to Reb.
Kinyarwanda and English materials emphasise speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, essential in forming the building blocks for early literacy. Audio programmes help in fluent English speaking as well as effective second language teaching for teachers.
In mathematics, materials focus not on memorising equations and rules, but rather on mathematical and strategic thinking to solve problems.
“Literacy is the foundation of learning and future prosperity, which is why Usaid is investing in the development of quality materials like these, which are not only rich in content, but contain new exciting methods for both teachers and students,” said Peter Malnak, Usaid/Rwanda Mission Director.
“We couldn’t be more excited that primary students across the country will now have access to them.”
The materials were piloted in 90 schools in five districts throughout the 2013 academic year. In 2014, those same schools are piloting English, Kinyarwanda, and Maths materials for P3 level, which will be distributed to primary schools across the country for use in 2015.