NEWTON, MA | September 17, 2008
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has been awarded a $30 million contract by the U.S. Agency for International Development to direct a broad education reform effort in Mali, reaching 80 percent of primary schools and over 1.5 million children over the next five years.
Under the new contract, EDC will work with Mali’s Ministry of Education to provide high-quality basic education and improve literacy and numeracy in schools. Working closely with the Malian government, EDC program staff will develop systems to improve teacher management and professional development opportunities for primary school teachers. The program will also create a variety of innovative classroom resources, and EDC will continue to take advantage of the considerable reach of radio throughout Mali, expanding its successful Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programs in six grades, with a special focus on teaching children to read.
“By the end of five years, the Malian Ministry of Education will have the capacity to reach far more children with meaningful learning opportunities than they can now,” said EDC senior vice president Mike Laflin, who directs EDC’s International Division. “We expect to see measurably improved learning outcomes in reading and math.”
In addition, EDC will identify innovative applications of technology to improve both educational access and quality for underserved populations, including rural children, students in Islamic schools, and children with special needs. Nomadic populations in Mali’s north, for example, will be able to listen to interactive radio instruction programming on MP-3 players, while teachers and supervisors may be exchanging data by cell phone. In addition, EDC will negotiate with potential private donors to form partnerships that will enable the ministry to expand the use of educational innovations.
EDC partners on the program include: RTI International; the Institute for Popular Education; Aide et Action, a French NGO; and the Center for Support for Research and Training.