These funds help Rwanda not only to address the immediate educational challenges posed by this unprecedented crisis, but also contribute to building a more resilient education system capable of effectively dealing with future threats.
The GPE-supported program – to be implemented over 18 months – finances activities outlined in the Rwandan Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response plan.
Tapping into technology to support education needs
In Rwanda, the rapid expansion of access to telecommunications technology – radio, cell phones, TV and internet – has enabled the country to use these platforms to provide distance learning options to students. However, since not all of these technologies are available to poorer households, radio, which has the most reach in terms of both coverage and device ownership, has been prioritized.
Specifically, the GPE grant supports the expansion of equitable remote learning opportunities by broadcasting curriculum-aligned radio lessons, along with promoting the use of alternative audio-visual materials on TV and on Rwanda Education Board’s (REB) YouTube channel. In parallel, the already established REB e-learning platform now allows students and teachers to access textbooks, lessons and assessments.
In order to promote parents’ engagement with their children’s learning, free text messages will communicate important information and reminders to parents on children’s learning schedules. A helpline will also be available to parents and students for queries related to remote learning options.
The stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic may increase the risk of gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy, further increasing drop-out rates. Making use of national broadcasting tools, the GPE program aims to generate support for students at increased risk, by promoting messages related to healthy conflict resolution, and stress and anger management.
Supporting the most vulnerable
To ensure the safe return of all students when the lockdown ends, the existing model of school grants will be revised to include COVID-19 response measures – such as increasing the provision of hand-washing facilities and water tanks, and the establishment of catch-up programs for students at risk of repetition or drop-out.