Early literacy at forefront as media editors’ pledge to reverse learning challenges in Rwanda.

Saturday 4 February 2017

By; Gloria Busingye & Annet Birungi

The Executive Secretary, Media High Council (L) and the Country Director, Save the Children (R), addressing participants during the Chief Editors' Workshop in Kigali

Kigali, 3 February 2017, Kigali - Over 30 media editors were divided into groups and began a one day-long training on how to reverse pupils learning challenges in Rwanda through Save the Children’s Mureke Dusome Project. Themed, “Role of media in advancing early literacy”, the workshop aimed to drive and establish collaboration to boost literacy initiatives a well as Child Rights and Protection through media coverage and reporting.

“This workshop is an opportunity for us to build a strong partnership with media practitioners to boost early literacy for all children, and reverse learning challenges in Rwanda. The media is a cornerstone to reach even the last child for academic success”, said Philippe Adapoe, Country Director at Save the Children International Rwanda.

He also commended the commitment shown by the media practitioners in the work of promoting early literacy across the country and emphasized that Save the Children stands for inspiring breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

Whereas, the guest speaker at the workshop, Peacemaker Mbungiramihigo, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media High Council pledged full support of media fraternity as well as that of the government towards advancing literacy efforts in Rwanda if the is to achieve its performance vision 2020. 

“We are committed to join efforts to equip media practitioners with knowledge and skills to ensure that the Government of Rwanda achieves its goal in Child Rights and Protection”, emphasized the Executive Secretary.

Some of the media practitioners from various media houses during discussions at the Chief Editors' Workshop at Lemigo Hotel, Kigali

During the workshop, chief editors recommended regular capacity building through trainings for media practitioners to equip them with relevant child matters reporting skills.  Save the Children intends to strengthen its ties with the Rwanda Media High Council to train more journalists to equip them with the required skills to engage children and communities in the news as critical thinkers and contributors. Save the Children’s Advancing the Right to Read programme provides a continuum of services for children aged 0-9 that focuses on beginning early, mastering foundational literacy skills and improving overall learning outcomes.

According to recent research, some of the Education big challenges in Rwanda include 18% of P3 students could not read 1 word of a grade-level Kinyarwanda text, only 13% could read with grade-level fluency (33 words per minute) and 50% could not answer even half of the comprehension questions relating to the passage they just read, which resulted in primary repetition (18.3% in 2013) and drop-out rates (14.3% in 2013) as well as primary completion rate declined from 78.6% in 2011 to 61.3% in 2014.