For the third time in as many years, the Bush administration has visited an EDC program overseas. In June, during her multi-nation trip to Africa, First Lady Laura Bush visited two EDC projects, meeting with students and teachers who use EDC radio programs for basic education, life skills, HIV/AIDS prevention, and teacher training. Mrs. Bush, accompanied by her daughter, Jenna, visited schools in Zambia and Mali that use the EDC-created programs. The work is funded by USAID through President Bush’s Africa Education Initiative.
Mrs. Bush visited the Regiment Basic School in Lusaka, Zambia, where interactive radio was first used to systematically improve access to education for out-of-school children. The programs feature characters, games, and rapid question-response segments and are used by more than 80,000 children each day.
Mrs. Bush observed a demonstration of one of the radio lessons, which have been a low-cost means of providing education. Testing has shown that children learn as much with radio as they learn in conventional schools and because of their success, the Ministry of Education made the programs available to all government schools in 2007.
In Mali, Mrs. Bush met with EDC employees and took part in a radio-based teacher training program and math lesson at the Nelson Mandela Public School in Bamako. Working with the Ministry of Education, EDC develops radio lessons in Bamako to help teachers improve their instruction. Since 2004, more than 2,700 teachers have been trained and more than 150,000 students have participated in the lessons.
“An investment in education, no matter how significant, is always worth it,” said Mrs. Bush at a school in Senegal.
Originally published on September 1, 2007