Feed A Hungry Mind

by Education East Africa
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
New classrooms under construction
New classrooms under construction

 

I hope this finds you well and in good spirits.

As I write, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. Day schools in Kigali are closed for this week to help to reduce the traffic. That does not affect where we work, but with the end of school-year examinations starting next week lessons are concentrating on revision.

Our work with the teachers and the pupils continues to go well, and week by week we see pleasing results. The teachers are becoming used to the methodology which is set out for them in the NOEC Teacher’s Books, so much so that it is now second-nature for teachers to make sure that the pupils ‘SEE the meaning’ of what they are teaching, and then have enough time to practise. The teachers also now see that the NOEC books do most of the work for them, and that teaching a subject which they previously dreaded is now rewarding.

So, it is particularly disappointing that the government seems intent on continuing with, and expanding, its Equip programme which uses the materials of New Globe Education. The programme is based on the use of Tablets to give teachers scripted lessons. It is important to bear in mind that most primary school teachers struggle to speak and understand English.

I will give an example (transcribed exactly) from one of the lessons on the Tablet which is what the teachers are given as their lesson plan:

Teacher Review: Vocabulary Revision – 3 minutes

1. Write on the board: Bread, Broom, Doctor, Teacher, Desk

2. Turn and tell your deskmates what these words mean. Begin.

3. After 30 seconds: Eyes on me.

4. What is a teacher? Cold call a pupil. [Signal] A person who works in a school. 

5. What is a desk? Cold call a pupil. [Signal] A place where you sit to work.

6. What is bread? Cold call a pupil. [Signal] A soft food made of grain.

7. In each of the following, you are given two pairs of words, then a fifth word. Study the pattern carefully to complete the problems.

8. I will call on a pupil to read the example pairs. Cold call a pupil. [Signal] Time, it, nine, in, none, _

9. Mention that the second word contains the first two letters of the first word, but in reverse order.

10. The word ‘it’ takes the first two letters of ‘time’ and switches their order. The word ‘in’ takes the first two letters of ‘nine’ and switches their order.

11. Why should the word ‘on’ come from ‘none’? Cold call a pupil. [Signal] The word ‘on’ takes the first two letters of ‘none’ and switches their order.

 

It is important to show this because it evidences a serious lack of understanding about learning, and especially about learning a foreign language. The first thing to note is that the language of instruction uses advanced English, which is not only difficult for the teachers but is also beyond the level of the language being taught, e.g. ‘their order’, ‘reverse order’, and ‘switch’. The second point is that even native English speakers would have difficulty in giving a meaning for the word ‘desk’ ‘bread’ etc. The best way to test that the pupils understand the meaning of simple nouns is by recognition using pictures. The third point is that the exercise using pairs of words and reversing letter order has little point. It is a complicated exercise and there is no element of understanding required. Anyone could carry out the exercise without understanding the meaning of the words and so it teaches nothing. It also does not help word recognition, which is a valuable part of language learning. 

Compare an exercise from our NOEC books which helps to develop word recognition. The Teacher’s Book explains in Kinyarwanda (the mother-tongue of the teachers) the purpose of the exercise and gives the teacher an example, in order to show the pupils what they are to do. The pupils then open the Pupil’s Book and work on the exercise which uses words the pupils have already come across many times:

Find the same word in A. and B.

    A.                       B.

(1)         hat                  (1) has

(2)         that                (2) tin

(3)         has                 (3) that

(4)         tin                   (4) hen

(5)         hen                 (5) hat

 

This exercise is simple, it’s fun for the pupils, and yet it has a serious underlying learning intention. Word recognition is an important skill to develop fluent reading. It aids pupils’ future studies as they are based on reading and comprehension.

It is equally disappointing that we still have not been able to meet anyone from the Ministry of Education or the Rwanda Education Board, and nor has any of the officials been to see our work in action. We are still persevering to make this happen.

In Tanzania we are building two new classrooms for the Bright pre-primary and primary school. Loveland Makundi, the head of the school, already has over 300 pupils. Pupils are now enrolling for the new school year starting in January 2023 and it seems that the school will then have many more pupils. The new classrooms will mean that there will be sufficient classrooms for all the pupils to learn in classes of not more than 35 pupils.

Perhaps the most exciting development is that in March we drilled for water! The lack of rain and lack of mains water was becoming a big problem for Bright school. The drilling took just over 6 hours and went to a depth of 130 metres. At some stage they put in soap powder, apparently to lessen the friction on the drill caused by the underground rocks. This meant that at the first ‘striking of water’ a mass of bright white soap suds came spilling forth. After a while, lovely clear water came. We have now linked electricity to the well and the school is getting regular water to fill its tanks.

Thank you for reading, and most importantly thank you for continuing to give towards our work. Whatever the governments may do, we are giving pupils a good foundation in English which will stand them in good stead throughout their future education.

Thank you all so very much.

With very best wishes 

Katy

Drilling for water with soap suds
Drilling for water with soap suds
Clean water from underground
Clean water from underground
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Claude and his pupils reading David and the Lorry
Claude and his pupils reading David and the Lorry

I hope this finds you well and in good spirits.

The schools reopened again in January in both Rwanda and Tanzania.

Damian and Ivan are in their routine of visiting the primary schools where we work in Gasabo District, Rwanda. They are helping the teachers with the delivery of their English lessons. This is now needed more than ever with English as the medium of instruction for all school subjects from a pupil’s first day at school in Primary 1. 

Claude is teaching his same pupils at Gasabo Primary School. He has taught them since Primary 1, and soon they will have completed primary school. It will be a very good test to see how they do in their end-of-school examinations having learned their English from our NOEC books since Primary 1. As shown in the picture, his pupils are now reading long stories. The pictures in the NOEC assist understanding, and the paragraphs are numbered so that comprehension questions are asked by the teacher after each paragraph. They are now reading one of the most-remembered stories in the book – David and the Lorry. David and his classmates go on a school outing to see the garden at another school. David knows the lorry driver and so sits in the front with him, and the other pupils and their teacher stand in the back. The lorry driver stops and gets out with the teacher to put in fuel. David presses a button he has been told not to press. The lorry lurches into life and sets off! Everyone is screaming, and the lorry goes faster and faster down the hill. David manages to turn the wheel and the lorry turns and goes uphill. Eventually a policeman runs alongside, gets in and brings the lorry to a stop. David, on return to school, is sent to the Headmaster. There are many illustrations which amuse the pupils, and they are really motivated to read from one paragraph to the next. 

Whilst the pupils are having fun reading the story, they are, in fact, revising the past tense, the present continuous tense and the present simple tense with ‘What, Where, Who, When’ question words. They are practising countable and uncountable nouns (e.g. ‘There isn’t any petrol’), and the use of conjunctions. Claude is guided completely by his Teacher’s Notes with preparation before each reading of a paragraph, and the questions to ask and the answers to be elicited after each reading. Reading the story and answering all the questions will take at least 24 periods. This gives the pupils sufficient time and lots of repetition of language and practice for the English to sink in.

In the lower primary classes (Primary 1 to 3) there is still confusion after the many school closures for Covid. In January 2021 there were two categories of Primary 1; those who were in Primary 1 from January 2020 to March 2020 and then stayed at home for the rest of the year, and those who reached the age to join Primary 1 in January 2021. This situation has continued and there were more closures in 2021. The teachers who are using our NOEC books were and continue to be the most able to cope with having mixed ages and mixed abilities in their classes because of the sequencing of material in the NOEC and all the guidance given. The repetition of language and constant revision is the key to the NOEC’s success, and the teachers are wholly aware of this now.

A long-awaited meeting with the Director General of the Rwanda Education Board was to be held on Tuesday 8th February at 4pm. It was cancelled at 8am in the morning with a promise of rescheduling. We hope the meeting will now take place in early March. This is hugely frustrating as time is marching on and other factors are coming into play. Damian and Ivan have been monitoring the teaching in other primary schools so that they can inform the Director General of what is really going on. There is no question that the pupils learning English from the NOEC books are way ahead of other pupils.

However, our work with the teachers, and indeed with the pupils, in their teaching and learning of English is not being helped by some new government programmes. The pupils are now learning French in Primary 1. The reason behind this is that French was the country’s second language for many years. However, as English is now the second language, and the pupils are suddenly coping with English as the medium of instruction from Primary 1, it is not advisable in our view to introduce another foreign language. Although there are not many periods a week for the teaching of French, we still fear it will bring overload to the young pupils. Also, many of the teachers who knew French are no longer in the primary schools. This means that not only are many of the teachers who are teaching English struggling with English themselves, but now some of those who are assigned to teach French are struggling with that language.

More worrying than that, is a new programme set up by the Rwanda Government called Equip and using New Globe Education to provide the materials. The latter, in turn, is connected to Bridge International Academies. This was announced and started with no consultation with the big donor partners. As far as we know so far, the programme is expected to be in 761 of Rwanda government schools by 2024. it has already started in some primary schools, including one in the area where we work and so Damian and Ivan have been able to see it in action. The programme is based on the use of Tablets to give teachers scripted lessons. However, everything is in English, the teachers are not guided sufficiently in methodology, and from what we have seen there is a lack of any meaning being imparted to the pupils and just pure rote learning. Not only that, but the teacher’s only have access to that day’s work; they cannot look ahead or plan.

We hope that the government will still find a place for our work, but the meeting with the Rwanda Education Board is critical.

In Tanzania the picture is a bit clearer. The school being run by Loveland Makundi, Bright pre-primary and primary, is flourishing. It opened for the new school year in January 2022 with over 300 pupils. All but two of the classrooms in our building are now being used. That means that Loveland needs some more space for 2023. We doubt that we will be able to build any storeyed buildings but we hope to start to build some bungalow classrooms soon. Bright is an English-medium school but even so Loveland is keen for the NOEC books to be used. We are planning a meeting with him next week to discuss this. 

Also there is a new Minister for Education in Tanzania and he has put out a plea for experts in the country to give him ideas for improvements in education. We wrote to him earlier this month and are waiting for any response. The new President of Tanzania has expressed her concern that education in the country must be a priority for improvement.

We are not yet free from challenging times, but our work continues to fulfil its aim of enabling teachers to teach English and enabling pupils to learn. Not only that, but within the use of the NOEC the pupils are developing the important thinking skills that are not covered in the government syllabus. 

I am continuously grateful for the support of all of you; that you have got us through the worst of the Covid crisis is heart-warming. Thank you all very, very much.

With all good wishes

 

Katy

The new Equip programme tablet lesson for English
The new Equip programme tablet lesson for English
Bright pre-primary pupils awaiting their teacher
Bright pre-primary pupils awaiting their teacher
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Our tribute to Martin Masabo on our websites
Our tribute to Martin Masabo on our websites

It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden death of one of our trustees of Support to Primary Education Rwanda, Martin Masabo, on 27th September.  

Martin had been in hospital for a few days suffering from Covid, and sadly died on the morning of Monday 27th

Martin had been a refugee from Rwanda in the late 1950s and had lived in Uganda, but ended up in Tanzania where he gained great respect as a teacher at a seminary school.

He returned to Rwanda in the mid 1990s, and worked in government with a promising career. He was the government’s choice person to head the new Lycee de Kigali secondary school. It was not Martin’s first choice but he agreed to take up the appointment, and was there for twenty years until his death. He led the school to be one of the best government schools in Rwanda.

Martin was energetic in the education community in Rwanda and was instrumental in forming the country’s Head Teachers Association. 

Emmy Nyirigira invited Martin to join the board of trustees of Support to Primary Education Rwanda when it was formed in 2016, and Martin accepted without hesitation. Martin’s participation in trustees’ meeting was invaluable with his knowledge of the education system, his contact with many officials, and his wise guidance and advice. We will miss him greatly. He leaves two children who are still of school age. Martin was talking about his forthcoming retirement and his plans, but, tragically, aged 59 he succumbed to Covid.

With Covid restrictions on the number of people allowed in church services and funerals only one member of SPER represented us at Martin’s service but flowers were sent, and we put a notice on the charity’s websites.

The last lockdown in Rwanda ended in Kigali and a few districts in mid-August. The schools were reopened for Primary 1 to Primary 3, and then their academic year ended on 17thSeptember. Primary 4 to Primary 6 began their academic year in October and their first term will end in December. Our lesson observations and support to the teachers have continued around these dates and restrictions.

So, along with the school closures because of Covid, these changes to term dates have not been helpful for the pupils’ learning. However, the teachers and pupils are proving to be very resilient.

From the youngest to some of the oldest primary pupils the NOEC books are a source of enjoyable English learning; for instance, teacher Josephine, returned from maternity leave, at Kibara primary school is performing most impressively with classes of up to 70 young children and managing to engage them all, and Teacher Claude continues at Gasabo primary school with his Primary 5 class of 11 to 12 year-olds, and they are showing real proficiency in using English for all their studies. Real learning is taking place. The teachers enjoy the NOEC books not only because most of the work is done for them by all the detail in the Teacher’s books which they easily follow, but also because they gain enjoyment and pride from their pupils’ evident learning and success.

With only about fifteen percent of staff in public offices and no visitors allowed in, it is to Damian’s credit that he managed to meet the Head of Curriculum at the Rwanda Education Board, Joan Murungi. She told Damian that she has a lot of information about our programme and has heard how successful it is. She thinks it could be of benefit in teacher-training too. Damian invited Joan to come to see the NOEC being used in the classrooms. Joan said that if the Ministry approved the NOEC for use in all schools then she would be happy with that. We are now trying to get to see the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Gaspard Twagirayezu, again, and also to see the Director General of the Rwanda Education Board. These meetings are taking a frustratingly long time to arrange but we are pushing hard before the year ends.

It does seem that 2021 in Rwandan primary schools has been a bit of a mess with so many stops and starts and changes. Throughout all of this the teachers of English using our NOEC books have been grateful for the books’ inbuilt revision, inbuilt ‘action chains’ for pupils to engage and use the language, and the enjoyable and yet testing exercises. All of this has enabled the pupils to retain the English learned and to progress steadily.

These continue to be challenging times, and I remain ever grateful to all of you who donate so that our work can carry on. Learning English is a necessity for our Rwandan pupils if they are to understand their studies and get anywhere in life. Your support of their foundation in gaining a good grasp of the English sentence patterns and structures will go a long way in their journey out of poverty. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Very best wishes

Katy

Flowers for Martin's funeral
Flowers for Martin's funeral
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Jackson
Jackson

Very Warm Greetings,

I hope this letter finds you well. 

Since my last letter, Rwanda has found itself suffering from the ‘third wave’ of the coronavirus in East Africa. However, our work in primary schools has been able to continue more or less as normal.

Rwanda primary schools are changing from two sessions a day (double shift) to single session teaching, so that all pupils can spend the whole day at school. Not only is there to be single-shift teaching, but the academic year is changing from a calendar year to a September-July year. The transition is difficult, and it seems that Lower Primary (Primary 1 to 3) will complete their year on 17thSeptember, while Upper Primary (Primary 4 to 6) will complete their year on 9thJuly.

With single-shift teaching, the re-opening of schools saw extra classrooms in some schools and also many new schools opening for the first time. In the two sectors in Gasabo District where we operate there were six schools. Now there are seven new schools!

Many teachers in the original six schools have been allocated to the new schools, and all head teachers in the new schools have been appointed from staff in those original six schools. So, all thirteen schools in the two sectors have staff with experience of our English programme using the  New Original Englilsh Course (NOEC) books.

We have had requests from all seven new schools for our NOEC programme to be brought to their schools. This is not possible with our present resources, but we have started working in one new school, Muhazi Primary School. Some of the new schools are, in fact, still sorting themselves out with desks for pupils and classroom windows and so our inability to work in those schools is not a pressing issue yet. 

In Muhazi Primary School, teacher Claudine who has been using the NOEC books for many years, is now mentoring the new English teacher of Primary 2, Anasthasie in how to use the NOEC books. Anasthasie is a teacher of mathematics to Primary 3 and 4, but is now ‘in love with the NOEC methodology’ and is enjoying teaching English.

Teacher Jean-Claude who used to teach English to Primary 1 with our NOEC materials, is now in a new school teaching English to Primary 6 and tells us that he still uses the NOEC methodology. The teachers who have used the NOEC resources have all demonstrably improved in their use of English. The head teachers are enthusiastic about the use of the NOEC and are pleasantly surprised by the superior capacity in English speaking that Lower Primary pupils learning from the NOEC books have over Upper Primary pupils.

The introduction of teaching all subjects through the medium of English from the very first year, Primary 1, is, to say the least, a challenge. It seems that the education officials, especially those at the Rwanda Education Board (REB), might be realizing the extent of the problem.

Emmy Nyirigiri, the Chair of our trustees in Rwanda (where we operate as Support to Primary Education Rwanda), was going to meet the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Gaspard Twagirayezu, on Friday 30thApril. Unfortunately, there was a sudden Cabinet Meeting called and the meeting was cancelled. With the workload of both the Minister and Emmy the meeting has yet to be rearranged.

However, Damian, who used to work as a head of department at REB, met the Head of Languages there, Mr Gatera, who is an old colleague. Mr Gatera is familiar with and appreciative of the work of Support to Primary Education Rwanda. After discussing with him again the merits of the use of the NOEC books, Mr Gatera is in favour of the use of the NOEC materials for all Lower Primary. To that end he would like us to meet the new Director General of REB with him in attendance. That meeting is being arranged, and Damian, Ivan and I have been working on a presentation to be made to the Director General. Ideally we would like the officials to come to see the use of the NOEC materials in the classrooms and to talk to the teachers, but perhaps that can happen after the meeting. 

Just as I wrote the above we got news of a new lockdown in Rwanda which comes into effect on 1st July. All schools and offices are to close until further notice along with other restrictions. So, we will now have to wait for any meeting with REB, and the pupils’ learning will be disrupted yet again. This is a great shame, and I can only hope it will be short-lived. 

Meanwhile, Dilly who heads our work in Tanzania, received a message out of the blue from Jackson Minja. Jackson was taught English by various of our ‘gap year’ volunteers from 2000 to 2006. He was then sponsored by the charity through secondary school and vocational training school. He wrote to thank Dilly for ‘accepting me as your child and you processed every cent to make sure my school fees were paid on time. Thank you Sir. They say it’s better late than never, I’ve never forgotten this. I am so happy to let you know that that short, tiny boy has grown and blessed with a Bachelor Degree of Science in Applied Zoology from the University of Dar es Salaam. Not only that but I am now employed by the Ministry of Natural Resources (Tanzania Forest Service Agency) since 2017.’ Jackson has agreed to my quoting from his messages and sent me some photographs so that I could choose one for this letter. Jackson particularly wanted to thank the ‘gap year’ volunteer who taught him English in his last year of primary school, and he ended one message, ‘You all are the reasons I am here today. Wish you the long and happy life’. 

Whilst my overall aim of changing the way English is taught so that every primary school pupil can learn English is taking time to achieve, I must not forget the many lives we have touched and changed through our work.

That has only been possible because of donors such as you. The continuation of our work depends on our donors, and I thank you all for your generosity, kindness and support.

 

With very best wishes,

 

Katy Allen Mtui

An example of our NOEC books
An example of our NOEC books
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Claude's Primary 4 pupils
Claude's Primary 4 pupils

Very Warm Greetings,

I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits.  

I never would have thought that a year down the line we would still be so affected by the pandemic.

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa with a population of roughly 13.2 million and a land mass about the size of Wales. The government has exercised tight control of the Covid crisis, and to date 265 people are known to have died of the disease. However, as in other countries, the school pupils have missed months and months of their education.

Schools opened across the country on Wednesday 24th February. For those in Primary 1, 2 and 3, they were last in school in March 2020. In the rural areas many had no access to television to watch lessons broadcast by the government, but some, but by no means all, had access to a radio to listen to lessons broadcast on radio.

Our popular radio programmes, ‘English with Teacher Katy’, were aired again during December. The programmes for P2 and P3 were broadcast twice a week on Radio Rwanda. We got very good feedback from the radio station, 

People are very interested in the lessons. The lessons are very well done with super methodology, and we got a call asking if we can run at least a daily programme.

Again, the pupils who are part of our project benefited greatly from the radio progammes. They know my voice and that alone provided some excitement, but more important was the much needed revision. Going over sentence structures that they had already learned and hearing them in familiar contexts, with time given for them to repeat the sentences and answer questions, gave a great boost to their confidence.

On return to school every pupil has a temperature check at the school gate each day. Both teachers and pupils are wearing masks, following government advice. That may hinder learning, as a lot depends in language learning on watching the teacher’s facial expressions and the movement of the mouth. 

The teachers have a huge task after a year of school closure, but using our NOEC books will help them enormously. The beauty of the NOEC books is that learning is based on the build-up of sentence patterns and structures, and so each sentence pattern is constantly revised and re-used as new ones are introduced. The teaching is based on classroom contexts, and also with very clear pictures in the Pupil’s Books which aid understanding. This means that the teachers can easily go back to earlier parts of the book and quickly revise until they are comfortable that most of the pupils are ready to pick up where they left off nearly a year ago.

In the government textbooks, the teaching of English is based on topics such as Greetings, Health, Traditional Tools etc. Each topic is riddled with different sentence patterns, and many of those are never met again once that topic is ‘done’ and the pupils move on to new topics. I have written to government education officials many times about this approach. 

I mentioned in my last report that the return to school this year has seen the introduction of the government’s new policy that all subjects and lessons are to be taught in English from Primary 1. In previous years, from 2011, Primary 1 to Primary 3 had all their lessons taught in the mother-tongue of Kinyarwanda with English taught as a foreign language for seven periods a week, and in Primary 4 the medium of education changed to English. The teaching now using English for all subjects from Primary 1 will be a challenge as many teachers of Primary 1 to Primary 3, especially in rural primary schools, do not have sufficient command of English in order to be able to teach in it.

Dr Timothy Williams  (Adjunct Professor in Global Social Work at Boston College and Researcher for Effective States and Inclusive Development) has overseen the evaluation of our work in Rwanda, and his latest article about the change of language in Rwandan schools for World Politics Review is excellent and most interesting. He has given me permission to share his work. ‘Research suggests that children learn best if they spend the first few years of their schooling grasping foundational and complex concepts using the language that is also spoken in their homes. The opposite also holds true: Forcing pupils and teachers to use an unfamiliar language without adequate preparation or support jeopardizes learning, particulary those in poorer rural areas where exposure to the English language is limited. The government’s most recent decision appears to reject this evidence – the same evidence it had previously embraced – potentially disadvantaging hundreds of thousands of students during the foundational years of their education.’ The whole article is well worth reading and can be found using this link:

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/read/TGchGlURKSTap6C_OhgYwXMBgkCRNQ_iqcYDErF18Uq_eUoSyQyEPugYJ82OP12MCKD09BFhJRlKAgEtYOE8O4MwT7rFjE7Wkb70KuhqwGcK5_MleIJvWYjeW0nVmwka    

In this new context, the use of our NOEC books could provide real help. Teacher Vestine at Gasabo primary school teaches social science, which she now has to teach in English when she was used to teaching it in the mother tongue of Kinyarwanda. Vestine has always been an enthusiastic participant in our weekly teacher development sessions held in the lunch break which use the NOEC books to improve the teachers’ English. Vestine now uses the NOEC Teacher’s Books to familiarize herself with the language and particularly how to ask questions and how to help her pupils to answer her questions. So, already the NOEC books have proved their worth to Vestine now that she has to use English as the medium of instruction for social science. The books could benefit so many others.

If the NOEC books were used as part of teaching training then teachers would gain a very thorough grasp of the language and its sentence structures and patterns, and also be guided in good teaching methodology which can transfer to the teaching of any subject. Of course, the continued use of the NOEC books by teachers who teach English as a subject has already proved to be successful.

After Emmy Nyirigira, the Chair of our trustees in Rwanda (where we operate as Support to Primary Education Rwanda – SPER), met the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Gaspard Twagirayezu, in November my colleagues Damian and Ivan had a meeting with the Minister in December. In attendance were the Minister’s adviser, and a representative from the Rwanda Education Board (REB). The meeting was summarized by the adviser in an email circulated to all who were present: 

Dear all, 

On behalf of Hon. Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, I am pleased to share the following key action points of the meeting for your consideration and action:

  1.  The meeting recommended that REB looks through Katy’s feedback documents and respond on them and consequently conduct a technical debate between REB and SPER on the feedback in a week’s time. To include the ‘New Original English Course (NOEC) books to deliver the teaching of English language in schools and the teaching methodology among others
  2.    It was emphasized that the Ministry of Education is open to discussions to learn from available expertise.
  3.   To arrange visit to schools in which SPER operates to see SPER’s progress

The meeting was concluded by reemphasizing that SPER’s support like any other partners in Education is necessary towards how things can be improved in CBC (compentence based curriculum) as a learning method. 

Regards,’

Since then, there began major restructuring within REB, and the schools remained closed. We are now chasing for progress.

The good news is that the primary schools are now open and education can get back on track, and our teachers and pupils are well supported by the NOEC books and by the regular visits of Damian and Ivan. A recent visit to Claude’s Primary 4 class at Gasabo Primary School is in the photograph below with everyone nearly unrecognizable in their masks!

This has been a difficult year for everyone, but I am grateful beyond words for the donations that have continued to come in to enable our work to keep going. Thank you so very much indeed for your extremely generous support.

With very best wishes,

Katy Allen Mtui

Vestine uses the NOEC to help her to teach
Vestine uses the NOEC to help her to teach
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Education East Africa

Location: DEAL, Kent - United Kingdom
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Twitter: @KiliProject1
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Katy Allen Mtui
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DEAL, Kent United Kingdom
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