An impact study released this week on the Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education (RISE) program in Zanzibar shows that the initiative is helping children learn more. RISE, a partnership between Zanzibar's Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) and EDC, with funding from the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides early childhood education opportunities to more than 20,000 Zanzibari children. RISE provides Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) to children in non-formal IRI centers and in grade 1 and 2 government school classrooms.
The results of the study show that children participating in RISE's IRI programming outperformed students who did not participate by 10 percent overall. The greatest increase was evident in Kiswahili language results, while IRI learners also made greater gains than control group students in English and math.
Learning gains attributable to the IRI programming were evident across several subgroups. Children in both non-formal and formal classroom settings made increased learning gains compared to their counterparts who did not participate in IRI. Likewise, both boys and girls benefited from the RISE program, with girl students showing greater overall growth.
Mwanaidi Saleh Abdalla, the Principal Secretary of Zanzibar's Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, praised the study and the program. "This impact study is testimony to the power of learning core academics through the Zanzibar stories, culture, rhymes, and songs," says Abdalla in a letter included in the study's foreword. "It demonstrates that learning can, and should, be fun."