New programme to improve foundational learning skills in lower primary education

A new programme designed to enable lower primary school teachers teach foundation skills in English and Mathematics more effectively and inclusively is expected to boost efforts toward improving education quality in the country.
A teacher engages students in a lesson as EDT officials toured to assess the challenges facing teachers during their teaching practices. Eddie Nsabimana.
A teacher engages students in a lesson as EDT officials toured to assess the challenges facing teachers during their teaching practices. Eddie Nsabimana.

A new programme designed to enable lower primary school teachers teach foundation skills in English and Mathematics more effectively and inclusively is expected to boost efforts toward improving education quality in the country.

The programme focuses on establishing solid foundations at lower primary level, from P1 to P3, in all public and government aided schools across the country, aimed at improving children’s learning achievements in higher grades.

Dubbed ‘Building Learning Foundations’ (BLF), the three-year programme was launched in July 2017, and is jointly implemented by Education Development Trust (EDT), the British Council and Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO).

It is expected to cost over Rwf 20 billion, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

The programme was designed to deliver improved learner outcomes, specifically in Mathematics and English as the country’s medium of instruction, by focusing on three foundations, namely teacher development, school leadership and system strengthening to ensure long-term and sustainable impact to Rwanda’s future of education.

Each foundation has a focus on inclusive education practices for pupils with special educational needs to make sure no child is left behind.

Jo Owen, the International Chair of Education Development, said they are committed to support the government’s continued ambitious efforts in improving education quality.

“We are very impressed with the government’s vision, energy and ambition for education which is referred to as the future prosperity of the nation. We are absolutely privileged to be helping the nation in achieving its vision, successfully,” he said while touring schools supported by Building Learning Foundations Programme in Muhanga District last Friday.

Different learning equipment like designed telephones that have both audio and video tapes of planned lessons and textbooks will be distributed in schools to give teachers more opportunities to use English while teaching the language itself and Mathematics, according to Timothy Bainbridge, the EDT regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Rwanda is one of the leading countries, if not the leading country, in Africa that encourage access to education, but the learning foundation is still critical, so we need to think how we can help to achieve quality education through this programme,” he pointed out.

“This programme is very ambitious and we like working with very ambitious partners who are much focused on learning outcomes because children have to be trained more in Mathematics and English subjects which are fundamental to their future education,” he added.

The programme has been carefully designed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, through Rwanda Education Board to complement, support and enhance the country’s existing education system and structures.

It is fully aligned with competence based curriculum and the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018-2023.

Emillien Ntagwabira, the District Education Director for nursery and primary schools in Muhanga District, said the programme is key to enhancing quality education in Rwanda.

“As long as teachers are trained how the programme can help them achieve their competence based curriculum, hopefully it will be very important in achieving quality education that our country wants. We would request training for teachers in English, as a medium of instruction to enable them teach foundational skills more effectively and we are ready to work together to improve quality education,” he said.

During its implementation, the programme is expected to reach over 2.6 million students from Primary 1-3 across the country while all responsible education players from the district to the school levels will be trained on how the programme works to ensure its success.

“Given how the programme is helping teachers improve their delivery on the newly introduced competence-based curriculum while teaching Mathematics and English in their classrooms, I believe it will greatly impact education in Rwanda,” said Claudine Nyiraneza head teacher of Kivomo Primary school in Muhanga District.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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