I applaud the role BLF is playing to support the learning of English and Maths in early grades in our schools.
Hon. State Minister for Basic Education, I Munyakazi
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
To improve the quality of teaching and leadership in all of Rwanda’s government primary schools and to increase students’ English competency levels.
Many Rwandan students are missing out on experiencing quality teaching and learning at primary level. By increasing English competency, more pupils will be supported in their learning as they progress through the primary grades and will be better able to complete their primary education. Led by the Education Development Trust, we have implemented a crucial part of the programme alongside a consortium of three UK partners. The Building Learning Foundation (BLF) programme focuses on providing technical assistance in three areas across primary grades three to one: systems strengthening, school leadership, and teacher development for foundational skills in English and Mathematics.
We lead the BLF’s English component, providing development resources and training to teachers and mentors, and support the establishment of monthly school-based communities of practice. By applying a blended learning approach, teachers are provided with orientation and guided self-study resources to support their learning both individually and as part of peer support groups. The programme also trains lower-primary English subject leaders in every school to ensure the approach to continuing professional development can be sustained in the future. In addition, BLF provides targeted English language support to teachers through face-to-face sessions and online training courses which had been tailored to their levels of English proficiency. Overall, this ensures that there are cohorts of skilled English language teaching professionals within the Rwandan education system at every level, and at every government and government-aided school across the country.
From 2018-20, over 15,000 primary teachers have been trained in English across 2,600 primary schools in the 30 districts of Rwanda.
Other achievements include:
- Developing activity books for pupils in grades two and three and distributing 550,000 copies to schools
- Testing the English language competency of over 7,000 P1-5 English teachers, P4-5 Mathematics teachers, Teacher Training College tutors, and Mentor Trainers
- Delivering pilot face-to-face intensive language courses to 300 teachers with low levels of English
- Running 22-week online English courses for over 1,600 English teachers who tested at CEFR A2 level.
A progress assessment in late 2019 also indicated that there has been significant improvements in teachers’ classroom practice and pupils’ learning outcomes. Altogether, 63 per cent of teachers met the benchmark teaching competency level, up from 10 per cent at baseline and above the target of 20 per cent. In total, 28 per cent of pupils achieved grade proficiency in P3, up from 16 per cent at baseline and above the target of 23 per cent.
The teacher development component of the Building Learning Foundations (BLF) programme has benefited more than 21,000 English teachers and 4.2 million children (primary one to primary five). Helping teachers to improve their English skills and primary pedagogy supports the Rwandan Ministry of Education and Rwanda Education Board in meeting English language targets. These include improving teachers’ English language proficiency and primary pupil achievement in English. 50 Rwandan tutors and school-based mentors have also received sponsorship to complete a course in e-moderation and teaching online through a Swansea-based company, Consultants-E.
The programme also supports small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, such as the supplier appointed for graphic design and illustration work on the BLF pupil activity books.