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Mali has made great advances in primary education access since 1990 (IEP, 2008). The proportion of primary school-age children enrolled in school has roughly tripled since that time. Mali has also embarked on substantial curriculum reform in elementary education, with a stated focus on active learning and first- as well as second-language literacy development. In practice, multiple curricular approaches coexist, including a majority of schools that continue to practice the entirely French language-based “classic” program of study.
The Institute for People’s Education (Institut pour l’Éducation Populaire, or IEP) designed the Read-Learn-Lead (RLL) program to demonstrate that the new official curriculum (here, the Curriculum program), if properly implemented and supported, can be a viable and effective approach to primary education, using mother tongue and a very specific pedagogical delivery approach. The RLL program sought also to demonstrate how the new Curriculum can be effectively implemented and supported, and what resources are needed to do so. RLL offers students and teachers carefully structured and systematic lessons, activities, and accompanying materials for instruction and practice on critical early reading skills in mother-tongue medium during the first years of elementary school. It is organized around three programmatic “results sets,” the first of which focuses on Grades 1 and 2 and is the subject of the present evaluation.
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