Educate! is thrilled to announce a monumental opportunity to reach more youth than ever before. This year we are launching in our second country: Rwanda. Through our education reform efforts, we will impact the education of every secondary student across the nation-- that’s 215,000 youth annually. This expansion is a major milestone toward sustainably impacting youth livelihoods through education systems change.
Last year Rwanda reformed its upper secondary curriculum, aiming to use skills-based education to directly tie secondary school to a better life after graduation. The government invited Educate! to serve as a technical advisor on the reforms. In mid-2015, Rwanda’s Ministry of Education introduced several successful components of Educate!’s model into the national entrepreneurship curriculum that is being rolled out in 2016. This partnership means that components of our model, Skills Labs and Student Business Clubs, will reach all secondary students across the country.
Our work in Rwanda is called the Educate! Exchange and is a partnership between Educate!, the highly respected Rwandan organization Akazi Kanoze, and EDC, a major international development organization. The goal of the Educate! Exchange is to improve teaching methods and techniques to support teachers with adopting the new competency-based methods included in the entrepreneurship curriculum, especially the Skills Lab and Student Business Clubs.
Now, we are busy laying the foundations to launch the Educate! Exchange on the ground. We’ve hired a core team of ambitious, passionate professionals who are eager to reach tens of thousands more students annually. To support the roll out of the new curriculum at the school level, Educate! will focus on teacher training in 100 secondary schools for two years. We will start by running workshops to prepare entrepreneurship teachers for the new curriculum. We will also produce structured lesson plans for teachers to help them adopt the new Skills Lab and Student Business Club structures. Finally, we will engage teachers in learning exchange visits, providing them an opportunity to visit each other schools and observe one another practice the new teaching methods!
We are inspired by the huge opportunity for impact in Rwanda. Recognizing the significance of our expansion, we remain focused on rigorous monitoring and evaluation of our impact. We are especially excited by the chance to do “research and development” on how we can best support reform. We are thrilled that the prestigious Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) has awarded us a grant to partner with their researchers to carry out a randomized controlled trial in Rwanda. In the first evaluation of its kind that we are aware of, we will measure the impact our methods for implementing skills-based education reform have on youth livelihoods.
Our activities in Rwanda are an opportunity to test the most scalable, sustainable ways to create impact on youth livelihoods through systems change, and are an important step toward achieving our Vision for 2024 of reaching one million students annually across 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.