The Rwanda Education Board (REB)’s Dr. Joyce Musabe and the Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative’s Norma Evans and Caroline Dusabe represented Rwanda at International Literacy Day in Washington, DC.
The event marking the occasion took place on September 7 and was co-hosted by USAID, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Brookings Institute.
Dr. Musabe’s presentation focused on the Rwanda Reads initiative launched by REB and its partners this past July. The umbrella initiative, which brings together education stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, is promoting the development of literacy skills and a culture of reading for enjoyment through numerous projects.
Among these initiatives, Musabe highlighted the establishment of new national reading standards for primary 3 and 5. These standards will inform the revision of curricula and the tracking of students’ reading progress throughout primary school.
REB, with partner L3, will support the achievement of these goals through the development of new instructional materials, a professional development program for teachers, and efforts to increase students’ access to quality reading materials.
Dr. Musabe emphasized that all levels of government, from the first lady to sector education officers, are well informed and engaged in the project. “Everybody’s watching,” she said. “The Prime Minister knows about the mobile libraries, that writer’s workshops must be done. These things are very well known.”
Such support is instrumental for Rwanda Read’s success.
In DC, the Rwanda delegation also visited Oyster Adams Bilingual School, which uses English and Spanish as languages of instruction.
Oyster Adams’ literacy program emphasizes the use of story and guided, leveled reading in the classroom. Children write or draw responses to stories and answer questions about what they have read or heard.
These elements, among others, are included in the work of the L3 initiative. “We’re going in the right direction,” said L3’s Dusabe.
The delegation also participated in the Mobile Education Alliance International Symposium on September 5-6 in DC. The event aimed to highlight the innovative use of technology for supporting literacy education.
The delegation was particularly interested in mobile technologies which distribute children’s stories through mobile phones and which allow teachers to search for words and stories containing the language sound they are teaching at that time.
Dr. Musabe said the team is already in contact with some organizations to inquire about these tools. “If those tools are being used in other countries, especially in Africa, why not in Rwanda?”