The New Times (Kigali)

16 October 2012

Rwanda: Involving Parents in Children's Learning

A new initiative has been launched that aims at engaging parents to actively participate in their children's education, mainly through encouraging the culture of reading.

The programme that is being spearheaded by Education Development Centre Inc (EDC), a US-based organisation, is expected to increase the rate at which parents guide, educate and interact through discussions and debate with their children.

This is the latest measure the organisation has taken to contribute towards promoting the reading culture through the Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"We are now engaging not only parents, but also members of the community to equally have the responsibility of promoting the reading culture amongst the children," said Said Yasin, head of the EDC.

He explained that the programme that will be rolled out across the country is also expected to improve on students' performance.

As part of the initiative, teachers, parents and students will be gathering to discuss as well as participate in debates and reading competitions.

The programme started at Rugarama Primary School in Ruhuha Sector, Bugesera District, under the guidance of the school's Parent Teacher Committee (PTC).

Olive Kanzayire, the school's headmistress and secretary of the PTC, said 42 students have already taken part in the competition.

"We have realised that students who perform better than others are those whose parents are part of the programme, so we want more to come on board," Kanzayire said.

She urged parents and guardians to spare time and guide children on studies, saying it will create a good foundation of better performance.

Dative Uwitonze, a parent having two children at the school said that the competition will check on students academic performance and force parents to play the lead role.

"I am sure that there will be no parent who will lag behind when he or she realises that his children are performing poorly," Uwitonze said.

The initiative follows others the organisation has put in place to promote the culture of reading and further improve the education system.

They also intend to introduce mobile libraries to simplify easy access of text books, and equipping the recording library at Rwanda Education Board (REB).

This enables the studio to record audio-visual educational materials which are supplied to school, to simplify reading, learning and teaching.

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