EDC is introducing interactive radio instruction to the island of Zanzibar in an effort to reach out to children who have been unable to attend school because of poverty, disability, or distance from school. Using games, songs, and stories broadcast over simple wind-up radios, the project will pilot test its radio lessons in 60 primary classrooms enabling 2,700 children to learn math, Kiswahili, and life skills.
“Learning through radio instruction in communities is as important as learning in the classroom,” says Abdulla M. Abdulla of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT). “The RISE (Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education) project offers young Zanzibaris another avenue for learning, especially in the areas where we do not have facilities for preschools. This will help the MOEVT to implement its new policy of including preschoolers in the basic education for all.”
RISE is developing radio programs and other learning materials for preschoolers and children in standards I & II of primary school. To bolster the education, EDC is also encouraging communities to establish 125 community-based Play and Learn clubs that will ultimately serve 10,200 children.
“It builds partnerships between schools and very disadvantaged communities around issues of learning, which is quite unique,” says Deborah Llewellyn, EDC’s Chief of Party for Tanzania. “The RISE programs are also well positioned to provide a safety net and learning opportunities for HIV AIDS orphans and disabled children.”
To launch the program, teachers, curriculum specialists, and teacher trainers (chosen from a pool of over 50) attended a scriptwriters training workshop. Participants from this group will go on to work with RISE for 19 months to hone their curriculum development skills. They will then return to their official positions in the Ministry of Education with improved skills to teach, develop curriculum and learning materials, and establish effective environments for learning in preschool and lower primary school.
RISE will be implemented in Micheweni (Pemba) and North A and B Districts (Unguja) beginning in July 2007. RISE is a two year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. It builds upon EDC’s previous work in Tanzania that used radio to provide educational opportunities for child laborers.
Originally published on February 1, 2007