This program was piloted with support from the Innovation for Education Fund, a partnership between the Governments of Rwanda and the UK, managed by Cambridge Education
The iWitness in Rwanda project uses witness testimony of genocide via internet based resources to promote positive values, increase understanding of genocide and its lasting effects, and enhance empathy with victims and survivors among young people.
It aims to develop critical thinking skills, promote constructive dialogue and prepare young people to participate responsibly in society.
Activities include the development of educational activities at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre (KGMC), in-depth professional development workshops for teachers on the iWitness project and its associated teaching methodologies, and the testing of the programme in nine upper secondary school classrooms in Gasabo, Rwamagana, Huye and Musanze districts. Students in pilot schools had access to over 1,300 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Nazi Holocaust and other genocides, including the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
There is a strong focus on changing classroom teaching methodology, which is applicable beyond the project’s focus areas of values, peace and genocide studies. The project embedded the video content within sets of sequenced learning activities, which included elements of peer discussion, both face-to-face as well as through the internet.
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CEI approaches in action
The project’s implementation was dependent upon access to high-speed internet and electricity in the classroom as well as learners’ individual access to a computer. The sustainability of the project would also be dependent on these factors, although some alternative ‘offline’ material has been developed. If the government pledge of universal internet connectivity for secondary schools in Rwanda by 2017 materializes, chances for scale up and sustainability will significantly increase.
The correlation of the project’s core principles of the use of testimony and the development of positive values with the peace education curriculum has enhanced its chances of success. High levels of political commitment to peace and reconciliation, coupled with the strong involvement of AEGIS Trust and its partners in the curriculum review and implementation process, will indeed support the sustainability of the IfE pilot.
Immediate Next Steps
- Capitalize on the positive involvement of iWitness in the curriculum review process and put efforts into supporting the curriculum implementation process by (i) training teachers as part of the ongoing curriculum implementation training, specifically where it concerns the cross-cutting area of peace education, and (ii) find ways to ensure that the iWitness tools and activities end up in the classroom teaching and learning activities as a next step of curriculum implementation.
- As a medium term step the iWitness activities could be embedded in ongoing teacher training both pre-service and in-service, subject to further discussions and negotiations between REB, the College of Education and the AEGIS Trust and its partners. It will be important to provide more depth about the foreseen role for the peer educators referred to above.
- MINEDUC/REB, as the Hub for Innovation, to explore and broker possible relationships with private sector and NGO providers of ICT goods and services.
- AEGIS Trust and its partners to identify funding for a scale up intervention with a major focus on GoR ownership and leadership, with technical assistance activities to prepare REB to take over the activities in the long run.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The project was evaluated using a quasi-experimental design (control and treatment groups investigated at baseline and end-line), though with small sample sizes (9 schools). The main outcome measures for teachers and students are based on self-reported surveys. Other data included content review and analysis, interviews and focus groups.
The findings showed that teachers reported positive gains related to all of their learning outcomes and some of the student outcomes were positive. Student interviews suggested the fostering of positive values the demonstration of empathy and tolerance in response to the testimonies. The study was carefully conducted and reported showing good transparency. The main problem is the lack of established validity and reliability of the outcome measures, particularly as the main outcomes are based on ratings by teachers and students.
An interesting and unanticipated benefit of the project was that teachers and students feltthat the programme also helped them with improving their English, particularly through theuse of content that combined English and Kinyarwanda.