Home NewsNational Rwanda Has Progressed In Children’s Ability to Communicate in English – UK Special Envoy

Rwanda Has Progressed In Children’s Ability to Communicate in English – UK Special Envoy

by Daniel Sabiiti
4:38 pm

Alicia Herbert OBE (L) and EDT staff interacts with students at EPAK Don Bosco

The UK Special Envoy in gender equality has commended Rwanda for the progress made in integrating and accelerating the use of English language in Rwanda’s education system through the Building Learning Foundation (BLF) program.

The BLF program is a UKAid-funded program improving learning outcomes for children at P1-5 in English and Mathematics in Rwandan schools, building the capacity of teachers & provision of learning resources to all teachers, training school and system leaders to drive improvement in schools and delivering learning resources to the student.

The program also runs the Girls’ clubs (42 schools across 10 districts) activities to support schools to address gender issues in the education system with a special focus on disadvantaged, vulnerable girls and dropouts in the communities where the program is implemented.

Alicia Herbert OBE, who is leading a UK delegation at the ongoing 2023 Women Deliver conference in Kigali, took time off this morning July 18, to visit and interact with groups of students from two schools (EPAK and GS Mburabutoro) who are among the 40 schools benefitting from Foreign; Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) funded Girls clubs across 10 districts in Rwanda.

“There is clearly been progress since the last time (2018) I was here and it’s really good to see progress in terms of children being able to communicate in English as a medium of communication,” Herbert OBE said.

The envoy also noted that neighboring Tanzania, where she has been assessing a similar program, should learn from Rwanda’s process of transition from Kiswahili to English

Herbert also had a chance to interact with girl’s clubs where she witnessed firsthand experience of how young girls are groomed to fight GBV and grow in self-esteem through an integrated gender-responsive pedagogy and sexuality education.

Through the Education Development Trust (EDT), the government has been implementing the gender-responsive pedagogy that aims to get out-of-school girls in school, thrive in school, and create a conducive environment for their education.

Herbert said that the Girl’s clubs, supported by UK High Commission in Rwanda and the Education Development Trust (EDT) create the space to do just that and reaffirmed her government support through the coming years.

The BLF program which began in July 2017 and is due to end in September 2023 has witnessed a significant positive impact on the education system, especially in English language literacy and numeracy.

The BLF program has reached 5 million primary school children, Girls Clubs were established in 42 schools reaching 1,260 vulnerable children and the Girls Education Policy & National Schools Inspection Framework with a gender inclusion lens showed remarkable girl-child empowerment.

For instance, 97% of girls felt their self-confidence had improved as a result of their participation in girls’ clubs, 22% more girls (48% to 70%) were interested in science, and 6% more (81% to 87%) were interested in mathematics.

While 51% less girls said they would not feel confident to speak in public in the presence of boys or men; 50% of teachers reported improved school attendance amongst girls.

Rose Baguma, the Director General at Ministry of Education and Alicia Herbert Obi(R) at EPAK Don Bosco

Rose Baguma, the Director General of Education Policy and Analysis at the Ministry of Education said that Rwanda has good gender policies but the role of partners on the ground is highly needed to implement country strategies in gender-responsive education.

“If you don’t have partners down there, for us as a ministry we find it hard to reach. So the girl’s clubs working with us, the teachers in gender-responsive; we are fighting to see that schools are feminine and favor girls to learn and get empowered,” Baguma said.

Silas Bahiganisenga, BLF Team Leader said that the upcoming FCDO-funded project called “Girl in Rwanda Learn” to promote girl’s education and gender-responsive education but also buildup on the successes of the BLF program and sustainability as the program comes to a close this year.

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