Narratives of Educational Reform in Rwandan Secondary Schools
Beth Samuelson

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Central Michigan University

Primary Discipline

Literacy and/or English/Language Education
In Rwanda, a country where approximately 800,000 citizens were killed in the 1994 genocide, secondary schools today are widely considered high-stakes social institutions. Educational reforms of history curriculum, language curriculum and assessment policy are invested in preparing youth with vastly different experiences of the 1994 genocide to be leaders in nation-building for the future. The proposed project studies the stories that Rwandan secondary students, parents, and teachers tell of their experiences with these reforms. These stories can reveal how Rwandans view reconciliation and tolerance through the lenses of their social, economic and cultural conditions. The stories that teachers, students, and parents tell as they make sense of critical changes in education will shed light on how these reforms may contribute to or interfere with the building of a free and open society.I will analyze narratives collected in Rwanda in 2001 and will return to Rwanda to collect new data for the purpose of testing and refining hypotheses. Variations in stories among distinct sub-groups of Rwanda society and deviations of these stories from official versions will provide a window into the processes of developing collective memory through narrative in Rwanda and beyond.
About Beth Samuelson

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