During a visit to Rwanda to attend the Africa regional meeting on Education for All, former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard visited ‘Advancing the Right to Read’, Save the Children’s education Signature Programme.
“I was delighted to visit Save the Children’s education signature programme in Rwanda and to see first-hand the organisation’s impressive efforts to improve children’s early grade reading skills,” said Ms Gillard.
Her visit took her to a school in Gicumbi where she saw the difference that our Literacy Boost teacher training and book provision is making to children’s reading skills and to the availability and effective use of quality children’s books. She spoke with teachers, parents and children who explained the different elements of our work in their community.
In addition to work in schools ‘Advancing the right to read’ Save the Children’s programme in Rwanda is applying the latest evidence about the importance of early literacy to develop and test First Read an innovative approach to parenting education, which is designed to build children’s school readiness and pre-reading skills.
In recognition of the importance of out-of-school opportunities to practice reading, the programme supports communities to provide children with encouragement and the support and books necessary to read for pleasure.
Our innovative work with local publishers through the Rwandan Children’s Book Initiative is helping to ensure that Rwandan children have access to high quality story books in the local language.
“Save the Children’s work to support early literacy at home, better teaching of reading at school, increased access to books in communities and its work with publishers to produce better children’s books is very exciting” said Ms Gillard.
“These interventions respond directly to the evidence of what works that were detailed in ‘A Global Compact on Learning’, published by The Brookings Institution where I am a Distinguished Fellow, and I look forward to seeing the results of the programme in time,” she said.
“Reading is the gateway to future learning and success at school. Given the global crisis in learning we urgently need to scale up effective, evidence based methods to improve the acquisition of early grade reading skills. I am confident that Save the Children’s work in Rwanda will make an important contribution to doing exactly that,” Ms Gillard concluded.
Show and tell
Bethany Ericson, Save the Children Rwanda’s Education Signature Programme Director, said, “It was a real honour to host such an important visitor and have the opportunity to share our work with her.”
Ms Gillard was accompanied on the visit by Ministry officials and development partners, providing the country programme with an unparalleled chance to profile our work with key policy-makers
A key issue for the international community is to address poor learning outcomes for children in school.
Save the Children has a series of both proven and innovative approaches to improving children’s learning like Literacy Boost, First Read and the Children’s Book Initiative and occasions like Ms Gillard’s visit to our Rwanda programme where all these things are being implemented are a great way of showing the world what we’re doing and want to do more of.