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 Rwandan Children’s Book Initiative (RCBI) supports the writing, publication and wide distribution of Kinyarwanda children’s books with a focus on Primary 1-3. The ultimate aim of the project is to improve literacy skills and learning outcomes for young children in the first years of primary school by increasing their reading, particularly of high quality and age appropriate books.
The project consisted of separate components implemented at National and District level. The National level focused on work with the Publishing Industry, the Rwanda Education Board (REB) and Rwanda Library Services to increase the number of quality Kinyarwanda children’s books available on the market. In Burera District the project piloted teacher training to promote reading alongside the procurement and distribution of books, book storage units and reading mats.
The project team has continuously evaluated the piloted approaches, applying learning and adapting to new opportunities as they arose. In the National level work with the publishing industry, this has been exemplified by the way in which the project has been providing hands-on support and mentoring to the key actors within the industry (e.g. illustrators, writers, publishers) to build their capacity to produce quality children’s books in Kinyarwanda, while at the same time engaging REB in a similar exercise, specifically in relation to assessment of reading materials.Introduces a new way of developing learning materials to Rwanda by taking a whole systems approach focusing on the entire value chain, including working with publishers, REB, Rwanda Library Services, decentralized levels staff and schools/teachers.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportLearning materials for studentsSchool supportCurriculum reform/designCulture/indigenous knowledge
Model details2013Hybrid (for-profit/not-for-profit)Local language/Mother tongue languageCulture/indigenous knowledgeActive
Scale390Teachers trained in pilot in 8 schools87The innovation trained 390 teachers in 87 schools.
Immediate Next Steps
- Presentation of the project to the Minister of Education and Development Partners
- Development of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rwandan Library Services
- Commencement of peer learning circles in schools and integration of reading activities in wider teacher training intitiatives
- Meetings with REB’s DG to discuss improving book access in schools
- Provide input to newly drafted Kinyarwanda P1-P3 teacher guides
- Support to REB to re ne the process for ordering supplementary resources o Mentoring schools on effective book ordering
- Dissemination of project results, including endline evaluation results
- Support to the publishers to establish supplementary readers aligned to the new curriculum
- Presentation of Community Reading Habits research to GoR
- Support Rwandan Library services in the strategic mapping of community libraries inRwanda
- Work with the auditing department to establish protocols for assessing schools’ regular use of books
- Support Rwandan Library Services in the implementation of the National Book Development Policy
- Invite REB project focal points & leadership to RCBI events and field visits to observe activities
- Dialogue with other projects to identify areas of cooperation
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The evaluation has one component for the national level and one for the local level. National evidence is through interviews and Focus Group Discussions analyzed qualitatively, along with analysis of books available through RCBI. School level (local) quasi-experimental study (control and treatment groups compared at baseline and end-line) collects evidence through teacher and head teacher questionnaires, classroom observation and student survey. At the end-line students undertook a reading assessment test.Standardized assessment performanceInternal assessment performanceData has been collected, but not on a regular basis.DownloadNoDownloadDownloadYes
At national level:
The increased quantity of storybooks in the project schools and favorable analysis of the quality of the reading books;
Publishers, authors and illustrators have the knowledge, skills and confidence to produce high quality children’s books in Kinyarwanda;
Demand for quality children’s books is established and sustained and a range of mechanisms are in place that will stimulate demand in the future.
At school level:
Teachers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage school book collections and use books to support reading and learning.
There were a significantly higher percentage of classroom lessons in RCBI schools (as compared with control schools) with reading present, both through reading activities and teachers using storybooks.
Learners at RCBI schools performed better in reading tests at end-line, usually significantly so, than learners at control schools in their ability to read letters and words, take dictation, show comprehension through completing a sentence by filling in the missing word (‘cloze’ assessment), and being able to read a passage.
The presence of story books in the school predicted student reading ability at end-line.
The evaluation is rigorous and transparent, with sound outcomes, but would be even more convincing if there was more evidence of the validity of the evaluation instruments (classroom observation and reading test).