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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Rwanda Reads Initiative. Building a Nation of Readers

Dr. Joyce Musabe, Deputy Director General, Rwanda Education Board

Rwanda has outlined an ambitious plan, entitled Vision 2020, to shift its economy from one that is largely agrarian to one that is knowledge-based. In accordance with the vision, the Ministry of Education has adopted as its mission ‘the transformation of Rwandan citizens into skilled human capital for socio-economic development of the country by ensuring equitable access to quality education focusing on combating illiteracy, promotion of science and technology, critical thinking and positive values.’

The development of high –level literacy skills - and the nurturing of a culture of reading - are critical to the Ministry’s mission and to the achievement of the goals set out in Vision 2020. This is necessary for achieving quality education, strengthening English and Kinyarwanda fluency and comprehension skills, developing imagination and creativity, empowering the public through lifelong access to knowledge and developing the habit of seeking new information in response to constantly evolving economic, technological and social environments.

In July 2012, the Rwanda Education Board and USAID, in collaboration with donor agencies and private sector representatives, launched a 4-year strategic plan, called the Rwanda Reads Initiative, to reinforce young children’s reading skills and build a culture of reading nation-wide.

The initiative calls for focused and coordinated interventions to:

  1. Improve reading skills
  2. Increase access to reading materials
  3. Transform reading attitudes and habits

It also calls for a national assessment program to monitor progress over time. This presentation will look at initiatives under way in each of these areas, as well as those planned for the future.

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