On 21st September 2020, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Culture through Soma Rwanda …...Read more
NATIONAL LITERACY MONTH LAUNCHED COUNTRYWIDE
On 21st September 2020, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Culture through Soma Rwanda launched the National Literacy Month to strengthen the reading and writing culture. The launch took place in Rwanda Broadcasting Agency Studio, so that the public could follow it live on national Radio and Television, due to COVID-19 preventive measures, given that there could be no gatherings as it used to be in the past.
The ceremony was presided over by Hon. Edouard BAMPORIKI, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture. In his opening remarks, Hon. BAMPORIKI said: “We are launching this literacy month to promote the reading culture so that we acquire more knowledge. Let us also be aware that when we adopt the reading culture, we can easily start the process of writing books, then pave the way for economic development both for our families and the country in general”. Stressing the importance of reading and writing, the Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education Hon. Gaspard TWAGIRAYEZU said: “This literacy month aims at ensuring that all parents are involved in the reading process at home by reading with their children or reading for them at least 15 minutes every day”. He later emphasized that when children are used to read in 15 minutes, they can also add on some minutes and read for long and therefore read big sized books. “With COVID 19 outbreak, children are not going to schools and it is an occasion for them to read more books than before. When someone reads a big sized book he/ she is more knowledgeable” During this month parents are encouraged to take 15 minutes every day and read with /for their children, parents or other individuals. They can also participate in “Read Aloud Challenge” by sharing photos or videos on social media showing them with the mentored child in the reading activity. They are again requested to facilitate children to learn at home by following Radio/TV lessons, and support him/her to know the schedules, avail time for doing exercises and assignments. Although some parents are not knowledgeable, they still can play their role by being on the side of the children and availing time for learning and make close follow up that children are not wasting time while studying. As part of the activities to promote the reading culture, Minister of State TWAGIRAYEZU read aloud a storybook where a child called Rugero made a strong resolution to study seriously from primary up to the university and later became a renowned medical doctor. This exercise is part of the successive challenges to other high profiles such as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture Hon. Edouard BAMPORIKI, who in his turn challenged other high profiles. The two Ministers of State participated in a radio talk show on Rwanda TV, Radio Rwanda and affiliated Community Radios, whereby the public was given an opportunity to ask related questions on social media to get more clarifications. Early February 2020, the Ministry of Education together with Soma Rwanda members launched a one year National Reading Campaign to ensure that children have access to reading materials in schools, home and the community. At national level, the ceremony took place at Sovu Primary School, Kagogo Sector, Kabaya Cell, in Burera district in Northern Province. Thereafter, literacy promotion activities were organized in the community, aiming at sensitizing children to read at schools and at home, and actively participate in literacy activities such as competitions and going to community libraries. But since March 2020, with the COVID 19 outbreak in Rwanda, children cannot go to schools or move to community libraries as it used to be. Therefore, it was necessary to change the strategy. MINEDUC through Rwanda Education Board started the remote learning program whereby Children can now access learning courses on different local Radios and TV stations or access e-learning platforms using the electronic devices such as laptops, desktops or smartphones. In the course of time, parents are encouraged to support their children by all means in the remote learning activity and never forget to avail 15 minutes a day for reading storybooks, newspapers etc. For parents who don’t know how to read, they can still help their children by giving the child time for reading, asking them to read a book for the parents and helping to know how to correctly pronounce words, ask text comprehension questions, and help in gaining new vocabularies. In a bid to help children from vulnerable families, partners in education provided a number of radios so that they can follow radio lessons at home. Parents are encouraged to support their children by helping them to do more practices of reading to improve their knowledge. During this literacy month that will end on 21st 2020, there will be also “writing competitions” for pupils in P4, P5 and P6 and all pupils including those living with disability are strongly encouraged to participate.
Source : MINEDUC Website
MORE CHILDREN ARE LEARNING AND READING AT HOME
On June 15th, 2020, Bonifride Nyirahabimfura is sitting with her children, Japhet Nkundimana and Aristide Byiringiro, to follow a Kinyarwanda radio lesson. The children attend the GS Shyorongi Reading Club, in Shyorongi Sector, Rulindo District. Save the Children, in collaboration with its Mureke Dusome activity and Rwanda Education Board, distributed solar-powered radios to ensure economically vulnerable families without devices can access radio lessons delivered by REB. A few weeks earlier, Bonafride Nyirahabimfura and her family received a radio. This initiative enabled more children to benefit from distance learning through radio and TV lessons. To date, Save the Children has distributed 950 radios to families thus supporting children to continue learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and related disruptions.
“The radio we received has helped me to follow radio lessons at home,” said Aristide, a P3 student at GS Shyorongi. “Now I am studying a lot from my home, and I have improved my knowledge. I am confident that when school reopens, I will be able to hit the ground running,” added the 9-year-old. Aristide’s family did not own a radio before. As that has changed now, Japhet and his sibling say it has encouraged their mother to support their learning at home by regularly following the radio lesson schedule, helping them to revise lessons and doing exercises together. “I am comfortable with Kinyarwanda and French; thus I support my children especially during Kinyarwanda radio lessons,” attests Bonifride. Bonifride adds that she ensures that she gets the information related to radio lessons and communicates it to her two children.
Literacy Champions, school officials and local officials are coordinating to provide accurate and succinct information about radio and TV lessons and are also sharing strategies and availing reading materials for parents to support their children to learn and read at home. Dismas Iribanje is a Mureke Dusome Literacy Champion in Rulindo District. He says he conducts regular home visits to parents of children attending the GS Rukingu Reading Club to mobilize them to keep supporting their children’s reading at home while respecting social distancing as advised by local administration authorities. “We discuss with parents and offer practical tips on how to support children to read and learn at home. We have also been lending books to families whose children attend the GS Rukingu Reading Club. Children have not stopped reading at home,” said Dismas.
Schools Avail Books to Read
The Mureke Dusome Literacy Champion says that when reading materials became scarcer, he approached a neighboring school which is now lending them books. Book lending is coordinated at the school level. At GS Rukingu library, Etienne Munyakazi, a parent to a P3 child, is also borrowing books. “I am borrowing books for my child because during this confinement period, he will use them to follow radio lessons especially during the Kinyarwanda and math lessons and English exercise time,” says Etienne. “The first support to my children was to buy a radio set for them. During lesson time, we give him space, a room without noise, for him to effectively follow the lesson. Then, we help them to do exercises and check if they have done it properly,” he adds. Community Mobilization In Rulindo District, there is a coordinated effort to share information on ways parents can support their children to learn and read at home. At the national level, Mureke Dusome is coordinating a Soma Rwanda effort to support REB by conducting a parents’ awareness raising campaign on radio and TV in the form of Public Service Announcements (PSAs), radio programs, and a live TV talk show. Some parents have received practical tips from this media campaign. “On radio, REB sensitized us to support children to learn at home,” says Dismas. He adds, “Moreover, GS Rukingu has been sending us SMS of the radio lessons schedules.” Where schedules are not sent via SMS, the district encourages schools to print and display them on a billboard as recommended by REB for either parents or students to come and consult. Furthermore, the district has instructed local leaders to leverage various information sharing channels to communicate ways parents can support their children’s learning at home. Such mobilization is conducted in the market and in villages with community announcements over megaphone. At Isibo (10-15 families in the village) level, leaders initiate such discussions with families. Despite the fact that some families do not have radio sets as reported by a Head Teacher in Rulindo, education officials recognize the efforts made to have radio lessons and note that children who are able to access educational programs are proud to review lessons.
From February to May 2019, five students from Belgium stayed in Rwanda for an internship with VVOB. They taught biology, …...Read more
BELGIAN STUDENTS EXPERIENCE SCIENCE TEACHING IN RWANDAN SCHOOLS
From February to May 2019, five students from Belgium stayed in Rwanda for an internship with VVOB. They taught biology, physics and physical education in lower and upper secondary in three schools. The internship was in line with VVOB’s five-year programme on Leading Teaching and Learning Together in Rwanda. The knowledge and practices imparted by the interns increased the learners’ passion of science and improved teachers’ skills pertaining to teaching science topics. On the other hand, the Belgian student teachers learnt how to teach big classes as well as teaching with limited resources.
Coping with differences
The student teachers come from Artevelde University College Ghent, Odisee University College, University College Leuven Limburg (UCLL) and the University of Ghent. They conducted the internship programme at G.S Rosa Mystica, an inclusive school, Saint Mary's High School Kiruhura in Southern Province, and G.S Rwamagana Protestant in Eastern Province. Marie Heleen Pype and Roel De Turk from Artevelde University College taught physics at Rosa Mystica and G.S Rwamagana Protestant respectively. Liese Boone who studies at Odisee College and Marie Marieke De Gayter from UCLL taught biology at Rosa Mystica and G.S Rwamagana, while Rien Schockaert from Ghent University taught physical education at Saint Mary's High School Kiruhura.
At the beginning of the internship, students struggled with the big classes “I liked teaching, but I was challenged at the beginning. The size of classes differs from the ones I’m used to. Some classes have more than 50 students, while we are used to classes of less than 30 learners in Belgium,” said Ms Pype. Liese Boone studies at Odisee College and taught biology at Rosa Mystica school. She faced similar challenges. “Classes were big, up to 60 students! But within two weeks I learnt how to manage them and started knowing my students more. In the end it was really fun and the students enjoyed it!” she said.
Read more on VVOB website at https://rwanda.vvob.org/news/belgian-students-experience-science-teaching-rwandan-schools
From February to May 2019, five students from Belgium stayed in Rwanda for an internship
PARENTS SUPPORT READING CLUB IN BUSASAMANA SECTOR
The Kavumu Reading Club in Busasamana Sector, Nyanza District is distinguished by high levels of community involvement. Parents innovatively repair damaged children’s storybooks and actively support reading sessions while the sector’s administrative authorities closely collaborate with the community to monitor the reading club. Ismail Munyanziza, a parent from Busasamana Sector, testified that the reading club has at least 70 children who regularly attend. During each reading session, between 10 and 20 parents routinely accompany their children.
“Whenever I get a chance, I come to assist reading sessions. The reason I come here is to support my children and motivate them to be more attentive during the reading session,” says Munyanziza who consistently accompanies his children to the Kavumu Reading Club. In normal circumstances, parents rarely go with their children to reading clubs. Yet at Kavumu Reading Club, parents say that attending sessions is a common practice. Parents became more engaged after a sector-wide reading festival, which included a children’s reading competition, that was organized in Busasamana with children from all the reading clubs in the sector participating. Apart from prizes like reading materials being awarded to winners, parents were encouraged to help their children improve their reading skills. According to Margarita Mukanyandwi, one of the parents who attended the reading festival, she was encouraged to get more involved in her child’s reading ability after witnessing her child’s performance during the event and listening to literacy messages. “During the competition, I realized that thanks to the reading club, my child’s reading ability improved. I decided to ensure that he keeps growing his skills, by supporting him at home, and coming to the reading club regularly,” says Mukanyandwi. “I always make sure to remind him of the reading club schedule. When he is at home, I help him to understand what he is reading by asking him to read for me, and when he reads a word incorrectly, I ask him to read it again,” she adds. The impact of those literacy messages becomes even more apparent after hearing the the case and testimony of Naome Kanziga, another parent from Kavumu Reading Club. Naome Kanziga recognized that it is a challenge when children’s story books become damaged over time and that, many of the Literacy Champions don’t have the skills to repair them. Sitting at her sewing machine where she is repairing damaged books from the Kavumu Reading Club, she explains, “When my child borrowed a book to read at home from the reading club, I saw that it was damaged. I decided to repair it; I sewed it. Then the literacy champions brought other books, and I sewed them all as well,” she says. The action from Kanziga helped the reading club to preserve reading materials which would have been damaged further and destroyed had it not been for her involvement. At Kavumu Reading Club the parents are willing to sacrifice their time, and in the case of Kanziga - their resources - to make sure that the reading club is functioning at the highest standards, and thus, having the most impact on their children’s reading ability. The Literacy Champions appreciate the parents’ regular involvement and credit this act to the high level of collaboration and monitoring of the reading clubs in the sector by administrative authorities. According to Honorée Bazubagira, one of the Literacy Champions, the Sector Education Officer (SEO) regularly asks how the reading sessions are conducted, and provides any support needed. “She regularly speaks to us, asks how the reading club is performing. This has motivated us, and we feel well supported,” she says. “That is what drives us forward, and keeps us going,” she adds. Aloysia Mukandayisaba is the SEO in Busasamana Sector. She says that the core message delivered during reading festivals is a request for parents to help and incite their children to read at home, while ensuring that the Literacy Champions in the sector are supported. “We always tell parents that they have to play an important role in improving their children’s literacy. Between the hours a child spends at school and those spent at home, parents must help children improve their literacy by reading together at home and providing any kind of support needed,” says Mukandayisaba. This message is always delivered during reading festivals organized at the sector level and has already made the parents take responsibility and participate in reading clubs at a rate that is improving children’s literacy.
The 7th issue of Urunana rw’abarezi magazine is themed “why collaboration in education is key to successful schools?”. …...Read more
PEER LEARNING MAGAZINE FOR TEACHERS AND HEAD TEACHERS-ISSUE 07
The 7th issue of Urunana rw’abarezi magazine is themed “why collaboration in education is key to successful schools?”. It is obvious that school performance and productivity do not come from individual endeavor and attitude, rather it is a result of joint effort by all education stakeholders. This edition of our peer learning magazine reminds us of the crucial role that collaboration plays in making schools successful.
The stories shared here highlight good practices, lessons learnt and tips on how to deal with challenges in order to collaboratively improve teaching and learning. Follow this link to read this magazine https://rwanda.vvob.org/sites/rwanda/files/layout_issue_007_web.pdf
Involving fathers in their children’s education is a game changer, improving gender equality in the classroom and beyond. …...Read more
UKWEZI KWAHARIWE GUSOMA KWASHOJWE, HATANGIZWA IRUSHANWA RYA ANDIKA RWANDA
Involving fathers in their children’s education is a game changer, improving gender equality in the classroom and beyond. A group of parents hovers over young children during a reading session at a primary school in Gafumba, a village in the hills of northern Rwanda. The school motto reads: “A complete education for a complete person.” Most parents in this rural community are unable to read or write, and at the school, involvement of parents — both mothers and fathers — in their children’s education is new. Fabien Nkurunziza and Adrien Nsekerabanziare are two fathers who took to heart the task of supporting children’s reading and education. After participating in a men’s engagement training as part of the Mureke Dusome, or Let’s Read, program funded by USAID, they began to encourage other parents to support their children — girls in particular — to ensure that all children are in school and learning, and have equal opportunities.
Men play an important role in children’s education
Male engagement is critical to advancing gender equality and shifting social norms. At USAID, we know that gender equality not only liberates women from prescribed social roles and narrow stereotypes, it does the same for men. And, as evidenced by our Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, we know it is crucial for both men and women to be fully empowered to move the needle on the path toward self-reliance. In Gafumba, to ensure that fathers as well as mothers take part in the education of their children, these fathers have helped transform negative perceptions related to men’s involvement in children’s education and activities. Fabien Nkurunziza said: “Men used to spend their money drinking, which caused fights and chaos at home. Through the training we received, we learned that when there’s a peaceful home, it helps children to study. Men play an important role.” The fathers Nkurunziza and Nsekerabanzi have stepped up as community leaders to talk about gender roles with other parents and community members, and how they affect children’s learning.
Supporting Rwanda’s Progressive Education Policies
In the wake of Rwanda’s horrific genocide in 1994, the Government of Rwanda’s leaders in the education sector developed progressive policies and plans “to eliminate all the causes and obstacles which can lead to disparity in education, be it by gender, disability, geographical or social group.” Laws and policies supporting women and vulnerable populations in Rwanda demonstrate a profound desire to protect, support and empower girls, women, and people with disabilities. As Rwanda makes huge strides in transforming the country from an agrarian-based model to a knowledge-based economy, the Let’s Read project and other complementary programs funded by USAID in Rwanda are designed to support that vision by promoting self-reliance among children and youth through literacy and skill-building that connect youth to jobs or further educational opportunities. One community member and father, Adrien Nsekerabanzi, said it was so inspiring to see their children start to read, that the men began taking a more active role, both in the community and at home. “We bring parents to school, and we follow up with parents whose children have dropped out of school, or who are at home when they should be in school,” he said. “We share what we learned in evening meetings and other gatherings. We tell men, ‘It’s our responsibility to help our wives.’ Women look at gender as partnership, they are happy with this change.” The project is making a big impact. Students from Gafumba recently won a district reading competition. “The fact that so many parents are here shows how important this reading activity is to the community,” Nsekerabanzi said. Benefits of understanding gender and the role it plays in family and community life can be far-reaching. “Now, our children can study better, and we don’t spend our money in bars, so we have more money to put toward our family’s needs,” Nsekerabanzi said.
About the Authors
Yolande Miller-Grandvaux is a Senior Gender Advisor, and Laura Lartigue is a Senior Communications Advisor. They both work in USAID’s Office of Education.
READ AT LEAST 15 MINUTES A DAY WITH YOUR CHILD
The Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC Samuel Mulindwa has urged parents to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading together with their children at home to boost a culture of reading while improving their children literacy skills and ultimately to better their learning outcomes. The message was delivered on Wednesday 5th in Burera District, Kagogo Sector at E.P. Sozi, while the Permanent Secretary with the USAID Mission Director Leslie Marbury were launching the National Reading Campaign under the theme “Make Time for Reading!” As part of his remarks during the campaign launch, the Permanent Secretary in MENEDUC Samuel Mulindwa urged parents, teachers, and head teachers to make time for reading, stating: “Now that the books are in schools and in communities, children need the time and support to use these resources.”
“Teachers and head teachers need to ensure that ALL teachers are using the Kinyarwanda teacher’s guide effectively, make time for children to read at school and encourage children to take books home to practice their reading. We count on you, parents, to find at least 15 minutes every day to sit with your children to listen to them read, and to support them in taking care of these valuable books and return them to school in good condition. This is children’s time for reading! It is schools’ time to teach students to read and to lend them the reading books! And this is parents’ time to help children to read. This is Rwanda’s Time for Reading! Together we can ensure that that all students learn to read by the end of P3,” the Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC added. The Campaign by the Ministry of Education and partners from the Soma Rwanda platform demonstrates Rwanda’s commitment to take necessary actions to improve children’s reading outcomes. Literacy is foundational to transform the country into a thriving, knowledge-based economy. The aim of the “Make Time for Reading!” campaign, which will run through December 2020, is to prioritize reading at school, at home and in the community. The National Reading Campaign launches at an opportune time, with efforts being made over the last year to bring millions of books into schools and communities. A USAID Mission Director Leslie Marbury echoed the Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC Samuel Mulindwa in her remarks: “USAID Rwanda is partnering with the Ministry of Education, the Rwanda Education Board, schools, and communities to ensure that every child can read with confidence by the end of Primary 3. USAID is proud to have supported REB to deliver 1.3 million Kinyarwanda textbooks to schools, so that every child in grades 1-3 can now have their own copy of a Kinyarwanda textbook. USAID Rwanda is also proud to be partnering with REB to deliver nearly 4 million storybooks to establish classroom libraries in P1-3 classrooms in every public and government-aided primary school in the country. Our collective goal is that all children have plenty of materials to practice reading and to become excellent readers. The evidence from Rwandan schools and from around the world is clear: reading is critical for a student’s academic success, and it’s also critical for a country’s sustained economic growth. Parents, make time for your child to practice reading at home and to attend community reading clubs, because children need that extra practice at home for reading to become quick and easy. Making time for your child to read - even just 15 minutes a day - will really support them to learn to read quickly and easily!” While the national launch took place in Burera District, the campaign was also launched in the other 29 districts of Rwanda.
- USAID Soma Umenye has supported the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to distribute 1,314,084 P1-P3 Kinyarwanda student textbooks in all public and government-aided schools—with each student having received a textbook.
- USAID Soma Umenye has also partnered with REB has also established classroom libraries in those P1-P3 classrooms. Over 900,000 storybooks have already been distributed; the total number of storybooks in classrooms across the country will reach nearly 1.4 million by the end of March. 54 of the titles in the classroom libraries are Andika Rwanda readers, which were written by Rwandan children, for Rwandan children, and printed in Rwanda.
- Last year, REB approved the use of revised Kinyarwanda reading benchmarks, which define the level P1, P2 and P3 children should achieve at the end of each year. USAID Soma Umenye is supporting REB and schools to measure students reading performance against the new benchmarks.
- USAID Mureke Dusome has established community reading clubs across Rwanda and has supplied those clubs with over 400,000 storybooks.