These days it’s rarely a surprise to read about a new effort to translate print curriculum to a digital medium. But a headline on an e-newsletter I just received from the Academy for Educational Development captured my attention. It links to a news article on allAfrica.com about Rwanda’s efforts to “digitalize and disseminate” the national curriculum as part of the country’s push toward “Education for All” goals set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
The article quotes Samuel Mulindwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education:
We have the challenge of achieving "education for all" as well as the transformation of our country's status to a predominantly knowledge-based economy by 2020.
As part of the project, funded in part by the USAID, a group of “technicians” will be trained in creating multimedia content. The purpose of the project, which is part of a larger effort throughout Africa, is to create “an interactive, easy-to-use Web portal, so that individuals and groups can work together and share knowledge and education material,” according to the Global Development Commons division of the USAID, which promotes innovations in international development.
The Republic of Rwanda, a densely populated and poor country in central Africa, has received considerable international support for its education reforms—from development organizations like the World Bank, and private companies including Intel and Microsoft—as part of a pilot program to ensure universal primary education through the developing world.
The country of 10 million has made considerable progress since the genocide there in 1994. Nearly half of the National Assembly members are women, the court system was transformed, and the economy has steadily advanced. After the genocide, the school system was in shambles, but enrollment in primary education has been growing substantially. In 1999 there were fewer than 1.3 million students in primary education, but by 2007 the number had grown to 2.1 million, according to UNESCO statistics.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.