Improving Early Grade Literacy in Burundi

Lead PI: Radhika Iyengar

Unit Affiliation: Center for Sustainable Development (CSD)

March 2019 - March 2020
Africa ; Burundi
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: With funding support from the World Bank, CSD Education is supporting the Burundi Ministry of Education to implement a localized version of CSD’s cognitive neuroscience-based approach to early grade literacy nationwide. CSD’s approach is designed based on the cognitive neuroscience of how children from resource-poor contexts learn, taking into account the reality that many children entering primary school have had little if any exposure to written text, and often grew up with illiterate or low-literate parents. Together with reading experts in Burundi, the CSD team developed a reading practice workbook in Kirundi, the primary language of Burundi, to supplement the Grade 1 textbook, as well as a set of teacher training materials that emphasize the simple pedagogical approach to implementing the method. The CSD education team is supporting the Ministry to rollout the method over the course of the academic year and to study its success through a series of classroom observations and student assessments. The program in Burundi is modeled after successful early grade literacy programs implemented in Malawi and Telangana, India.


Burundi Ministry of Education


World Bank




Tara Stafford Ocansey, Haein Shin


quality of education literacy education


Sustainable living