Education provides the foundation for a better life, but the education systems in Ethiopia and Rwanda currently face challenges that affect the delivery and quality of classroom instruction.
BACKGROUND: Course Content and Instruction
The curriculum in the public schools is established at the national level but teachers can determine the delivery of course content, how to interact with students, and promote"soft" skills. Although English is the language of instruction, many teachers are not fluent and students have difficulty understanding course content because the material is not presented in the local language.
Due to overwhelming student teacher ratios (50:1), classrooms are taught through didactic methods: Teachers present at the front of the classroom, students repeat the information, and memorize it for the examinations. Many students do not fully understand concepts and cannot apply it to real world situations. This method for teaching leaves little room for students to develop critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, problem solving, resiliency, and many other skills that help students become successful. These "soft skills" are becoming more important to employers and are essential to create jobs and to be entrepreneurial.
The strategic direction in each country depends on an educated citizenry and our efforts are intended to work with local educators and students to support this skill.
To develop and implement programs to improve language skills, to replace the cycle of didactic teaching and train teachers to use new teaching methods that encourage students to develop soft skills that prepare them for life and a career after graduation and support greater teacher-student interactions, with the intent that our involvement will be replaced by locally trained professionals whose focus will continue to create skills beyond technical competency and allow students to find sustainable careers upon graduation.
We will use a project-based approach to design and implement various initiatives to pursue our goals. These projects will allow us to determine the feasibility of incorporating these activities into the school programs given the local resources available to maintain these efforts.
Past projects interns have contributed to: