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(March 2012) All Children Reading: Africa 2012 was hosted this month in Kigali, Rwanda, by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Two four-day workshops provided opportunity for literacy experts and education policy makers from twenty-five African countries and Haiti to collaborate on important technical and programmatic issues and draft action plans for improvements to early grade literacy in their home countries.
In attendance at the first workshop was HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, who serves as a UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development and Chair of the European High Level Group on Literacy. Princess Laurentien addressed attendees and participated in discussions of action plans to improve acquisition of reading skills in the early years of school.
Representatives of SIL participated in both workshops. Dr. Agatha Van Ginkel, an Africa Area literacy and education consultant, and Dr. Barbara Trudell, Africa Area Director of Research and Advocacy, served as country-team facilitators for Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Van Ginkel also gave presentations on Mother Tongue Instruction and Language Transition at both workshops.
SIL is convinced of the crucial role that language of instruction plays in the success or failure of reading programs, and is honored to contribute technical expertise in partnership with the many African governments seeking to incorporate local languages as media of instruction in primary school curricula.