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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

British Council and INTO NILE Programme Empowers Thousands of Rwandan Teachers with Enhanced English Proficiency

To date, over 2500 secondary school educators have benefitted from this pivotal English language development initiative.

A significant number of 2500 secondary school teachers in Rwanda have recently completed an in-depth English language training course provided by the Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE), an entity within the INTO University Partnerships Group.

This comprehensive training was digitally facilitated by expert language consultants from NILE, recognised as one of the pre-eminent global entities for professional development in English language teaching, in a collaborative effort with the British Council.

The programme’s initiation in August 2023 saw the first cohort of teachers embark on their digital learning journey, utilising tablets loaned for the initiative’s span. Participants engaged in a blend of synchronous online sessions with e-Teacher moderators and asynchronous self-study modules focusing on English vocabulary and grammar. This was complemented by module-end assessments conducted via the Rwandan Education Board (REB) learning platform.

Embedded within the larger STELIR (Secondary Teachers English Language Improvement Rwanda) project, this 20-week educational endeavour is a collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, executed by the British Council in conjunction with the Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB). STELIR aspires to elevate the English language skills of Lower Secondary Teachers within the Rwandan public education framework to a minimum intermediate level, benefiting a total of 6,000 in-service teachers across 14 districts and an additional 1,000 Lower Secondary Pre-Service teachers at the University of Rwanda College of Education (URCE), with the overarching aim of enriching educational outcomes for lower secondary students.

The Rwandan educational landscape has undergone significant growth and reform in recent years, now recognised as a key investment in the nation’s economic development. The education sector is nearing the completion of a seven-year strategic roadmap focused on enhancing education in terms of its relevance, quality, and accessibility.

“Throughout the project, both learning participants and e-Teacher moderators grew in confidence,” noted Rose Aylett, a Consultant Trainer with NILE. “By the end of the session, those teachers who had spoken very little were confidently and enthusiastically speaking English with their colleagues. In a similar vein, the e-Teacher moderators I had the good fortune to collaborate with also advanced their technology skills and learned a great deal of new, practical teaching methods.”

Jean, a participant and graduate of the English language programme, shared, “It’s been an extremely productive experience engaging in live sessions with our e-Trainer throughout the training programme, enhancing our skills to deliver English language lessons effectively as teachers.”

Jean further elaborates, “It’s been an extremely productive experience engaging in live sessions with our e-Trainer throughout the training programme, enhancing our skills to deliver English language lessons effectively as teachers.”

Reflecting on his course completion, Francois, a secondary English educator from the initial batch and a learner with visual impairments, expressed, “At first, I was afraid of not being able to keep up with others. But in the live meetings, the teachers actively involved me, which made the learning process approachable. I became more proficient in speaking, listening, and writing over the course, and I also developed a deeper comprehension of English concepts. My e-trainers were all inclusive, taking into account my unique learning requirements. The in-person lessons were truly welcoming, treating both myself and my other instructors fairly and offering extra assistance so that I could take part in activities with other students.”

In addition to the teachers, a cohort of local English teacher trainers also concluded the programme, acquiring the necessary skills to continue supporting Rwandan teachers with English language training beyond the programme’s initial phases.

“They were organised, communicative, and student-centred throughout the six months I worked with the NILE team,” commented Ruth Bath, Senior Trainer and STELIR Project Coordinator at British Council Rwanda. “Because of this partnership, the public education system in Rwanda now has a cadre of skilled, confident trainers ready to offer high-quality online sessions that showcase the inclusive teaching methods and pedagogical skills they’ve learned from their e-trainers.”

Mike Riley, Deputy Director of NILE, remarked, “It has been inspiring working with teachers across the whole of Rwanda and supporting efforts to achieve a sustainable change in the Rwandan education system. As they continue to train local secondary teachers in Rwanda, who we know are eager to apply their newfound knowledge, we send our best wishes to the English instructors working there.”

Since being acquired by INTO University Partnerships in 2006, NILE has seen its international presence bolstered, providing educational professionals around the globe with a diverse range of English language teaching and support services.

With a legacy dating back to 1995, NILE has trained over 70,000 educators from more than 90 countries, supporting thousands in various facets of English Language Teaching (ELT), including engagements with government ministries, private language schools, and educators across all levels from primary to university. NILE also actively contributes to the design and execution of significant global education reform projects, in addition to its offerings of training programmes online, in the UK, and internationally.

NILE, in partnership with the British Council, is set to continue its training endeavours in Rwanda, including a forthcoming second cohort of 800 trainee teachers anticipated to complete the programme in March 2024.

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