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 Government of Rwanda (GoR) has hired and assigned School-Based Mentors (SBMs) to support basic education schools throughout the country (each SBM covers two schools). Previously, SBMs had little contact with each other and little access to resources and information beyond their initial training.
FHI 360’s Mentorship Community of Practice (MCOP) project uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to enable SBMs to connect with each other to provide peer support and share resources via an online ‘Community of Practice’ (COP). The project provides high-interest information about Rwanda’s education system, and makes resources available for mentors to use with teachers to improve English-language knowledge and pedagogical practice in Rwandan classrooms.
The purpose of the innovation was for better school based mentoring to improve the quality of teaching of 25,000 teachers in 1,000 basic education schools across Rwanda.
Major activities include: (i) establishing and organising a library of resources to support mentors; (ii) developing online and mobile channels to distribute these resources and connect mentors with each other; (iii) creating partnerships to subsidize online and mobile access to these channels; and (iv) conducting training and outreach activities for all senior mentors and half of the country’s SBMs.The project was flexible in its delivery, e.g. it responded to the need for greater resource and support for SBMs in their mentoring of teachers in English language.
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CEI approaches in action
MCOP began as a pilot program funded under the DfID Innovation in Education Fund in April 2013 and was implemented by FHI 360. Its success led a scale-up from April 2015 and today MCOP is funded by USAID in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s Rwanda Education Board and partners for a period of 2.5 years.
- Discuss the scale-up plan and annual work plan with REB and start scale-up implementation through USAID funding
- From the beginning of the scale-up intervention, establish the mechanism to be able to assess the impact of the USAID supported scale up model in supporting all mentors and the impact the COP generates for new practitioners, viz. DEO’s and head teachers.
- Continue the dialogue about the continuation of the national mentorship programme and use this dialogue to effectively link the COP intervention with future teacher professional development initiatives.
- Monitor the use of the (expanded) education portal managed by REB.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The project features evaluation designs with (i) a quasi-experimental design (control & treatment groups studied at baseline and end-line) using quantitative surveys and tests for change in knowledge and attitude of SBMs; descriptive studies including (ii) a quantitative analysis of the use of the online COP by SBMS and (iii) a qualitative analysis of their discussion forums to determine the extent and the nature of the online community. This was accompanied by (iv) a number of qualitative case studies of schools examining the role of SBMs, and the views of head teachers and teachers on their work.
Results show that the COP was used by the majority of SBMs with nearly 70% active during the final quarter of the project. The results were inconclusive for the impact on SBMs and teachers in terms of changes in knowledge and views of pedagogy, and SBMs work with teachers (except on individual teachers’ English language skills), compared to the control group. There were improved levels of interactions of SBMs with each other (peer learning).
The relative lack of results may have more to do with the fact that the national SBM programme changed focus to English language support, whereas MCOP focused more on pedagogy. The study was rigorously designed and executed but suffered from this change of focus of the national SBM programme.