Frontlines Drakkar November-December 2012


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A Helping Hand for Mother-Tongue Texts

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Yo u are he re » Ho me » Pre s s » Fro ntLine s » A Helping Hand for Mother-Tongue Texts November/December 2012 By Rina Dhalla | NEW PLAYERS Sign up to receive Fro ntLines by email Em ail: First Name: Last Name: P DFmy URL.c o m


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Subscribe RSS Feed fo r Fro ntLines Still Want a Paper Copy? Resubscribe here. C R ED IT: D R AKKAR LTD . Te xtb o o k d is trib uto r Drakkar Ltd . is wo rking to p ro vid e Rwand an c hild re n with b o o ks writte n in the ir native lang uag e . Like 10 Twe e t 34 Imagine how dif f icult it would have been f or you to learn to read if , upon entering school, the only books available were written in a f oreign language. T hough still grappling with your f irst language, you would be expected to recite and comprehend passages in an unf amiliar language. Valuable years in the early grades would be lost. Drakkar Ltd.’s Local Language Books Co untry: Rwanda Grant Amo unt: $259,657 Missio n: Ensuring that children in Rwanda have access to interesting books written in their mother tongue. In Rwanda, English replaced French as the of f icial language of instruction in 2008. But in 2011, the predominant local language, FRONT PAGE INSIGHT S NEW PLAYERS GRADUAT ION NEW PLAYERS Ho w to Get All Children Reading • A Helping Hand fo r Mo therTo ngue Texts • The Bo llywo o d So lutio n: Making Reading ‘Inescapable’ P DFmy URL.c o m


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Kinyarwanda, spoken by all three ethnic groups of Rwanda—Hutu, Tutsi and Twa—became the of f icial teaching language f or the f irst three years of primary school. Rwandan children are now expected to read in both languages, starting their schooling in Kinyarwanda, and then switching to English in grade 4, at which point they are expected to have become prof icient enough to study in it. Despite this shif t towards embracing Kinyarwanda in the early primary grades, there remains a dearth of relevant, high-quality, culturally appropriate instructional materials in the language. Related Content Imp ro ving Le arning O utco me s thro ug h Mo the r To ng ue -Bas e d Ed uc atio n Early Re ad ing : Ig niting Ed ucatio n fo r All T here is also an acute literacy problem: An early-grade reading assessment conducted in Rwanda in March 2011 indicated that af ter three f ull years of instruction, 13 percent of students surveyed in grade 4 could not read a single word of second grade- to third grade-level text in Kinyarwanda. Another 13 percent were reading less than 15 words per minute in Kinyarwanda, f ar below the approximate 45-60 words per minute range considered the minimum level of f luency in either Kinyarwanda or English. Rwandan textbook distributor Drakkar Ltd. is trying to address these combined challenges with a plan to ensure that children in approximately 300 primary schools in f our of the country’s 30 districts have access to materials written in Kinyarwanda. “Very f ew stories f or children written in Kinyarwanda by Rwandans are available,” said Helle Dahl Rasmussen, project manager at Drakkar. “We see it [as] essential to be able to read in your mother tongue, especially at an early age.” In September, Drakkar had one of 32 winning projects selected f rom 450 submissions to improve literacy in over 20 countries as part of USAID’s All Children Reading Grand Challenge. T hrough its support of mother-tongue literature, the company, which was f ounded in 2006, hopes to promote a greater culture of reading in a country where illiteracy is widespread. Not Just Translation Research, including that of RT I International, into the ef f icacy of mother-tongue instruction in early primary grades backs up Rasmussen’s claim. In f act, learning in a mother-tongue language • Alphabet Bo o t Camp Hacking fo r Hunger: Let the Games Begin Kenya’s Cash Co ws In One Kenyan To wn, It’s No Lo nger Just ‘Old Wise Man’ Breaking Do wn Trade Barriers Builds Up Co mmerce FRONT LINES ARCHIVES New Players & Graduatio n Yo uth & Mo bile Techno lo gy Eco no mic Gro wth Child Survival & Ethio pia Editio n Partnership & Latin America/Caribbean Editio n Demo cracy, Human Rights & Go vernance 50 Years & Fo o d Security Sudan & So uth Sudan/Educatio n Climate Change/Science & Techno lo gy Glo bal Health/Iraq Haiti/Wo men in Develo pment Afghanis tan/Pakis tan 20 11 Archive 20 10 Archive 20 0 9 Archive 20 0 8 Archive 20 0 6 -20 0 7 Archive 20 0 5 Archive P DFmy URL.c o m


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early primary grades backs up Rasmussen’s claim. In f act, learning in a mother-tongue language capitalizes on what a child already knows bef ore their schooling begins. When children enter school, they are equipped with a working vocabulary and a general ability to communicate in their mother tongue. By teaching in a language that a child speaks, thinks and understands, he or she is able to actively engage in the classroom. T he child smoothly transitions between home and school, their culture and traditional knowledge validated and reinf orced in the classroom. Af ter mastering their mother-tongue language, children are able to rapidly learn to read and write in a second language. With the evidence in hand, Drakkar f irst plans to translate 58,000 readers, or textbooks with reading exercises, f rom French, Kiswahili and Amharic into Kinyarwanda. T he readers, f rom the popular Junior Af rican Writers Series, target children in primary grades—the f irst six years of education. About 300 schools in Rwanda with limited access to supplementary reading materials will receive the readers. Teachers will be trained at each school to use the materials to improve students’ reading skills, with the potential of reaching over 180,000 primary grade students. And translation is just the beginning of Drakkar’s plans to bring childhood reading into the Rwandan mainstream. As an early initiative to cultivate local talent, Drakkar plans to sponsor an annual book-writing competition. Semi-f inalists will be given writing seminars to improve their stories, and six winners across the country—three children and three adult authors—will have their stories published through Drakkar’s partnership with Pearson Publishing. “At the moment, limited Rwandan authors f or children exist,” said Rasmussen. “T his project will identif y and award those children who have the talent f or writing and may become f uture Rwandan authors.” T he end goal is to f oster a national market f or Kinyarwanda children’s books so that more books will eventually be written by Rwandan authors, which will in turn encourage more children to read. “By leveraging partnerships and thinking creatively,” said Patrick Collins, USAID basic education team leader, “this local organization—and new USAID partner—will make great strides in f illing the gap in culturally appropriate, local-language reading materials f aced by Rwandan schools.” RELATED READING 20 0 4 Archive 20 0 3 Archive Se arch GO Advanced search... P DFmy URL.c o m


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How t o Get All Children Reading The Bollywood Solut ion: Making Reading ‘Inescapable’ Alphabet Boot Camp Bac k to To p ^ Ab o ut USAID This Is USAID Fre q ue ntly-As ke d Q ue s tio ns O rg anizatio n USAID Prime r O ur Histo ry Insp e cto r G e ne ral O IG Re p o rts Pe rfo rmance and Acco untab ility O p e n G o ve rnme nt Initiative Te lling O ur Sto ry U.S. Fo re ig n As s is tanc e Re fo rm Staff Dire cto ry Faith-Bas e d & Co mmunity Initiative s Ad vis o ry Co mmitte e Sp e e c he s /Te s timo ny PVO Re g istry USAID Kno wle d g e Se rvic e s Ce nte r Kno wle d g e Manag e me nt Disab ility Po licy O ur Wo rk Ag riculture Cro s s -Cutting Pro g rams De mo c rac y & G o ve rnanc e Ec o no mic G ro wth & Trad e Ed uc atio n & Unive rs itie s Enviro nme nt G e nd e r Eq uality & Wo me n' s Emp o we rme nt G lo b al Partne rship s He alth Humanitarian Assistance Inno vatio n & De ve lo p me nt Alliance s Mille nnium De ve lo p me nt G o als Po lic y, Planning , and Le arning Sc ie nc e and Te c hno lo g y Lo c a t i o ns Sub -Saharan Afric a Asia Afg hanis tan / Pakis tan Euro p e & Eurasia Latin Ame rica & the Carib b e an Pub lic Af f airs Pre ss Re le ase s Missio n Pre ss Re le ase s Ne w De ve lo p me nts Fac t She e ts Me d ia Ad vis o rie s Sp e e c he s & Te s timo ny Re p o rts to Co ng re ss Co ng re ssio nal Liaiso n IMPACTb lo g IMPACT Ne ws le tte r De ve lo p me nt Cale nd ar Fro ntLine s Te lling O ur Sto ry Pho to G alle ry De ve lo p me nt Exp e rie nc e Cle aring ho use AIDCo nne ct Brand ing Guid e line s Co ntact USAID Care e rs Ap p licant Civil Se rvice Civil Se rvic e FAQ Fe llo ws Pro g rams Fo re ig n Se rvic e Fo re ig n Se rvic e O ffic e r FAQ Junio r O ffice r (JO ) Mid -Le ve ls Limite d Ap p o intme nts (FSLs ) Insp e cto r G e ne ral Pe rs o nal Se rvic e s Co ntracto r (PSC) Se nio r Exe c utive Se rvic e Stud e nt Inte rnship s Stud e nt Pro g rams FAQ Pe rso nne l Dire cto ry Fre q ue ntly-As ke d Q ue s tio ns Emp lo yme nt Fo rms B usine ss/Po licy Acq uisitio n & Assistance Ag e nc y Financ ial Re p o rt Bud g e t & Sp e nd ing Busine ss O p p o rtunitie s Small & Dis ad vantag e d Busine sse s USAID FO RWARD Evaluatio n Sho wc as e Po lic y Frame wo rk Re co ve ry Ac t Re g ulatio ns and Po licy Partne r Co mp liance and O ve rs ig ht O ce an Transp o rtatio n Ind e finite Q uantity Co ntracts (IQ Cs) De ve lo p me nt G rants Pro g ram Private & Vo luntary Co o p e ratio n Unive rs ity Partne rs hip s Transp are ncy Info rmatio n Q uality Auto mate d Dire c tive s Sys te m P DFmy URL.c o m


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Brand ing Guid e line s Latin Ame rica & the Carib b e an Mid d le East Missio n Dire cto ry Mis s io n We b Site s Auto mate d Dire c tive s Sys te m Co mp e titive So urc ing Exe c utive O rd e r 13520 , Re d uc ing Imp ro p e r Payme nts Omb ud sman Bus ine s s Fo rms :::::::::: What' s Ne w : FO IA Re q ue s ts : Privac y Po lic y : Email This Pag e : Plug -ins : FAQ s : He lp De s k : Co ntac t Us : Site Map Last Updat e d on: De ce mbe r 28, 2012 P DFmy URL.c o m



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