RTI International to Lead Efforts to Improve Early Grade Reading Levels in Malawi

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As part of an effort to help the Government of Malawi enhance educational outcomes, the U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded RTI International a contract to help the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology improve the reading performance of Malawian students in grades 1 to 3.

Under the terms of the three-year, nearly $24 million contract, RTI will take a holistic approach to increasing learning outcomes. At the school level, training teachers to make effective use of lesson plans will be paired with increasing the availability of high-quality supplementary reading materials for students.

Outside of the classroom-based activities, parents and communities will receive training in ways they can effectively support school-based activities, including leveraging existing Government of Malawi resources. Ministry counterparts will also work with RTI staff members to develop a policy environment which supports effective long-term progress toward improved literacy.

The project’s activities will be focused in 10 districts across Malawi, including seven in which RTI recently wrapped up work as a subcontractor on a USAID-funded project called Malawi Teacher Professional Development Support. Under the contract, RTI worked alongside the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and several non-governmental organization partners to deliver a targeted reading intervention based around teachers with scripted lesson plans and regular coaching in their use.

“Reading achievement in Malawi is extremely low,” said Timothy Slade, project management specialist at RTI and the project’s home office technical manager. “Signs of real improvement were seen on the Malawi Teacher Professional Development Support project. Our counterparts both within the government and civil society are eager to build upon that momentum. The substantially improved literacy rates we aim to achieve through this program will be a testament to the power of focused, sustained, and self-reflective collaboration between all the various groups.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

 

Children in Malawi line up for school

Highlights

  • USAID has awarded RTI a contract to help the government of Malawi improve the reading performance of Malawian student
  • Under the terms of the three-year, nearly $24 million contract, RTI will take a holistic approach to increasing learning outcomes.
  • The project’s activities will be focused in 10 districts across Malawi