6 Programs Working to Educate Rural Communities

January 16, 2015Calla McCabe

CEI's advanced search sorts programs into various categories including 'geographic area'. This field allows users to filter their search to 'urban', 'peri-urban' or 'rural' programs.   This week we are spotlighting 3 not-for-profit and 3 for-profit initiatives that are serving rural communities across the world.  How Is a not-for-profit different from a for-profit? For-profit companies are generally founded to generate income for entrepreneurs and their employees, while not-for-profits are founded to serve a humanitarian or environmental need.

For-Profit Rural Programs

Samsung Solar Powered Internet School (SPIS), Kenya.  Through the Hope for Children initiative, Samsung launched the SPIS to complement the efforts of the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) in integrating ICT in primary schools.  The SPIS is a 40-foot shipping container that has been customized into a classroom setting. It is equipped with 24 student laptops, 24 sitting spaces, 1 teacher laptop that is designed to monitor all the other laptops, a multi-purpose Samsung printer, a server, air conditioning, Internet access, a 50-inch e-board, and solar panels. All the equipment is customized for use in a solar-powered environment. This is important as many schools in low-income areas lack access to reliable energy sources. Use of solar power ensures that the facility runs efficiently and consistently at no extra cost to the host school. Learn more about SPIS here..

The Broad Class - Listen to Learn radio program aims to improve access to quality education for in-school and out-of-school public primary school children in Islamabad, Pakistan using Interactive Radio Instruction to deliver English lessons and teaching materials on air.  This radio program, broadcast on Communicators (Pvt) Ltd.'s Power 99 FM radio station, uses Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) to promote child-centered practices in the classroom, encourage participation of parents in schools, increase student retention rates, and improve teaching quality and learning outcomes.  The IRI model uses a one-way radio to reach two audiences (students and in-class teachers), and prompts four-way communication: (i) Radio teacher – In-class teacher; (ii) Radio teacher – Students; (iii) In-class teacher – Students; and (iv) Students – Students. The ‘radio teacher’ delivers the content on air, pausing in between to provide space for student responses, and also prompts the 'in-class teacher' to utilize interactive instructional approaches in the classroom. The content and activities facilitated by the radio program are mapped to the Pakistani national curriculum and are delivered through a series of structured learning episodes in which students are prompted to respond, do individual and group work, and perform learning tasks. Read more about The Broad Class - Listen to Learn here...

iSchool is a comprehensive, online, multimedia, e-learning package that covers the entire Zambian primary school curriculum. It provides around 6,000 detailed lesson plans that act as scripts for teachers and emphasize inquiry-based and interactive learning. iSchool also provides interactive multimedia lessons for students in English, and for early grades, in 8 local languages. All student learning material is spoken as well as written, which iSchool believes makes a significant difference to early learning outcomes.  iSchool works in both urban and rural schools, on mobile devices, and on the web. Currently, iSchool is introducing a new delivery model, known as the ZEduPad, which is an educational, touch-screen tablet that contains all of iSchool's content, including lesson plans, interactive lessons, homework, and educational apps. The ZEduPad is available in three forms, one for home use, one for schools (content mirrors what teachers are using to teach), and one for teachers (contains lesson plans and teacher training material). Learn more about iSchool here....

Not-For-Profit Rural Programs

MOVINGschools is a part of Building Trust International which serves displaced refugee and migrant communities on the Thai-Burmese border. The schools, which can easily be built, disassembled, and relocated, provide an apt solution for communities in this region that do not have land rights. This is beneficial because on the Thai-Burmese border, many communities don’t have access to land rights to establish permanent schools or are subject to landlords suddenly raising rents, which disincentivizes investment in infrastructure, so many children are taught in poor conditions in classrooms that are dark, unsanitary, and unsafe. This is why Building Trust International launched the MOVINGschools project in 2011 and hosted a design competition to address this issue. The winning design allows for schools to be constructed and disassembled as many times as necessary, so they can easily be moved and rebuilt, which saves materials, time, and energy, when compared to repeatedly constructing low-cost structures.  These buildings now serve numerous refugee and migrant communities on the Thai-Burmese border: as of 2014, about 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 16 attend the three MOVINGschools. Read more about MOVINGschools here...

Mother Child Education Program (MOCEP) is a home-based early childhood development program designed for preschool children aged 5-6 years and their mothers. It seeks to empower mothers by supporting them in their parenting roles and equipping them with the knowledge and the tools necessary for fostering the cognitive development of their children.  Started in Turkey in 1993 for young children from low socio-economic backgrounds who do not have access to quality preschool education. Based on the premise that the earliest years are the most formative for a child's rapid cognitive, social, emotional and motor skill development, MOCEP is an intervention aimed at children from underprivileged backgrounds who have been exposed to risk factors, such as poverty, political and armed tension and parents with low education levels. MOCEP is cognizant of the fact that the early developmental needs of children must be met and supported by their immediate environment and parents play an important role as "first educators".  Learn more about MOCEP's work here...

East African Playgrounds is a UK registered charity that promotes the importance of play in child development. EAP build playgrounds at no fee to the community so children can explore, learn, develop and play alongside their academic education.  EAP offers playgrounds to schools and local children’s centers in Uganda at no cost. Academic institutions apply to EAP and must demonstrate a passion for play alongside holding adequate infrastructure and grounds and ability to share in providing recyclable materials for the playground (usually tires).  Each playground is custom made to match the needs of the school and surrounding community. In particular an EAP will draw out 6 key areas of learning through play: Active, Free, Game, Imaginative, Rest and Creative. Alongside building the playground EAP promote creativity and play by facilitating Arts and Play sessions for children at the school or center. These sessions are initiated during the playground building phase. In the afternoons EAP’s Arts and Play team work with teachers to run the program and show how arts and play and fit into the curriculum. In addition, EAP’s agreement with the school mandates that the school continues to lead Arts and Play sessions for their pupils. Read more about EAP here...

To learn more about this topic, check out the following programs and resources on the CEI website:

  • Bridge International Academies is a large-scale chain of low-cost private schools that uses a technology-enabled approach to provide standardized primary education through its “Academy in a box” model, allowing the chain to scale quickly and keep costs low.
  • BRAC Primary Schools in Pakistan, offer quality, non-formal education to disadvantaged and school dropout children in Bangladesh, with a particular emphasis on girls. The BRAC primary school model is flexible and student-centered, allowing students to complete the five-year primary school curriculum in four years.
  • BagoSphere is a social enterprise vocational training company in the Philippines that trains highly motivated, rural, BoP youth to become employed in call centers, whereby their income is 4x higher than in unskilled jobs.
  • Girls Learn International coordinates pairings between U.S. middle and high schools and partner schools located in developing countries where girls' educational attainment is sometimes threatened. Pairings engage in letter exchanges, online discussions on human rights and girls' education, and after-school cultural enrichment activities.

Photograph above courtesy of iSchool.

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