Making Learning Easier for Children with Disabilities

UNICEF is working with the Rwanda Basic Education Board to produce accessible and inclusive learning and teaching materials for children with disabilities in upper primary

By Steve Nzaramba
Teachers seated together working on adapting textbooks to digital format
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro
29 September 2021

Teachers and Curriculum developers attended a two-week workshop on adapting the existing upper primary level textbooks into ‘Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADT)', also called ‘Accessible and Interactive Multimedia Textbooks (AIMTs)’. With the support from the Government of Norway, UNICEF is working with Rwanda Basic Education Board to develop Curriculum aligned textbooks that are pedagogically adapted to be accessed by learners with and without disability.

Teacher using a computer
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

Textbooks are adapted by trained teachers using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach together with VARK concept (Virtual, Auditory, Aural, Read/Write and Kinaesthetic) and easy-to-read concepts. The generous support from the Government of Norway will enable children with different disabilities to follow the national curriculum just like their peers, as the ADTs correspond to their learning styles and capabilities.

Teacher with disability using a special computer
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

Participants of the workshop included teachers and facilitators with different disabilities to support the adaptation of the textbook content for children with disabilities CWDs. Not only the images, texts and activities but also the language will be adapted.

Teacher using a computer
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

The AIMTs/ADT are comprised of text, images, sign language videos, audios, videos, 2D/3D animations and interactive activities to facilitate learning for different learners with different learning styles.

Teachers working together
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

To ensure inclusive learning, UNICEF is using the Norway grant to support the Rwanda Basic Education Board financially and technically through Humanity and Inclusion, an NGO with strong presence in Rwanda and expertise in access and learning.

Teachers and UNICEF staff member walk through school premises
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

Furthermore, thanks to the Norway funds, UNICEF is working in partnership with Humanity and Inclusion to ensure that 30 inclusive model schools’ environments are adjusted to address the mobility challenges that were hindering CWD from accessing different school facilities. In this regard, the construction of ramps, accessible playgrounds, WASH facilities, classrooms will soon be completed.

Children playing and learning in a UNICEF-supported resource room
UNICEF/2021/Ndahiro

The generous support of the Government of Norway has supported the establishment of resource rooms in 60 inclusive model schools that have been equipped with disability-adapted teaching and learning material and CWD are gaining the support of well-trained teachers in inclusive pedagogies in this learning environment of the well-equipped resource rooms.

Finally, teachers were also trained on the application of inclusive pedagogies by using UDL principles and are actively helping CWD get timely access to quality education.