With overcrowded classrooms, rote learning techniques and low pass rates, the quality of education in primary schools across Malawi is a cause for concern. To help tackle this problem, the Education Development Center (EDC), with funding from USAID, implemented a three-year student-centred Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme in 2007. This programme was designed to provide information on basic skills (including literacy, numeracy, English and life skills) to grades 1 to 3, improve learning outcomes, and embrace the new primary school curriculum introduced by the national government.
Classes tuned into the Tikwere! (Let’s Climb Up!) programme broadcast in 30-minute lessons every day, using Lifeline Energy’s wind-up and solar-powered radios. The 10,000 radios provided students and teachers in primary schools with sustainable access to the Tikwere! programme with interactive activities such as songs and games.
The programme went on air in January 2008 and produced positive results by reaching several hundred thousand students and 8,000 teachers in 5,300 schools across the country. The programme led to a sharp increase in school enrolment and learner achievement, in addition to bridging the gap between rural and urban education, especially among girls.