July 20, 2015

Recording Stories for Rwandan Students

Two visiting officials lend their voices to an EDC literacy program

In 2012, EDC helped build a state-of-the-art recording studio in Rwanda as part of an ambitious effort to promote literacy across the country.

Recently, that same studio welcomed two high-profile guests: Erica J. Barks-Ruggles, U.S. ambassador to Rwanda, and Silas Lwakabamba, Rwanda’s minister of education at the time. Both Barks-Ruggles and Lwakabamba recorded stories that will soon be used in Rwandan classrooms as part of EDC’s Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) initiative.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), L3 creates audio programs to support English, Kinyarwanda, and math instruction in Rwanda’s primary schools. The audio recordings model effective teaching practices, while they help students learn to read, speak, and converse in English—the primary language of instruction beginning in fourth grade.

In the studio, Barks-Ruggles recorded “The Story of Cat and Mouse,” a tale about a mouse’s attempt to retrieve his tail from a cat. Lwakabamba read a short poem called “Fix that Noise!” The stories will align with Rwanda’s new competence-based curriculum beginning in 2016.

Barks-Ruggles and Lwakabamba also toured a school where EDC’s L3 materials have been implemented. In one classroom, they watched as students practiced proper English pronunciation, assisted by one of the EDC-developed audio programs.

“The visit by the minister of education and the U.S. ambassador highlighted the project’s support to Rwanda’s education goals as well as the partnership of EDC, USAID, and the ministry,” says EDC’s Kingsley Arkorful. “The ministry also showed its commitment to continue to use the tools introduced by the project to further those education goals after the close of the project.”