RICE is an international school. Under the current regulation of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education all Ethiopian nationals are required to follow the national curriculum. We therefore primarily follow this curriculum but supplement it with the British Cambridge International curriculum (CAIE), in Maths, Literacy and Science and with the International Primary curriculum (IPC).
Our Grade 7 students, in 2018/19, will start the two-year national curriculum to prepare for the national Grade 8 exams.
Special note for non-Ethiopian passport holders: Although we welcome international and diaspora Ethiopian students at RICE; currently 14% of our students hold non-Ethiopian passports; we are required to follow the Ethiopian national curriculum. We hope to continue benchmarking Cambridge Checkpoint in Maths, Literacy and Science for Grade 5 & 8 (Year 6 & 9), but otherwise the national curriculum provides the framework for our curriculum.
RICE follows the Ethiopian National curriculum framework for all its subjects. For Grades 1 to 4 (Year 2–6) subjects include English, Maths, Amharic, Environmental Science, Art and PE. For Grade 5 to 8 (Year 6-9) subjects include English, Maths, Amharic, Integrated Science (for Grade 5 & 6 (Year 6 & 7), which are then split into Physics, Biology and Chemistry for Grade 7 & 8 (Year 8-9)), PE, Social Studies, Art & Music, and Civics.
The Cambridge Primary and Cambridge Secondary 1 curriculum is an International curriculum produced in Cambridge, England. It is a recognised curriculum in many countries around the world and encourages high academic achievement, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It covers the core subject areas of Literacy, Mathematics and Science, ensuring that children worldwide are at an equivalent academic level.
From Grade 2 (Year 3) onwards there are Progression tests for each elementary class, which are taken once a year to help teachers check their students’ progress against the Cambridge curriculum objectives. These tests are produced externally but marked internally by the class teachers. At Grade 5 (Year 6) and again in Grade 8 (Year 9) students take an externally produced and marked exam called the Cambridge Checkpoint. These are marked by Cambridge to help the school to see how their students are progressing. Students are rated across three levels ranging from bronze, silver and gold.
RICE became an accredited Cambridge International School in February 2017. We are currently licensed to use the Cambridge International Examinations (CAIE) curriculum for Preparatory to Grade 8 (Year 1 to 9).
The IPC is used to supplement the national curriculum in Art, Geography, History, Music, Science, Society, Technology and Internationalism. Originating out of the many Shell Company schools located around the world, the IPC is now an autonomous curriculum offered through Fieldwork Education Ltd in the United Kingdom (www.greatlearning.com).
“The International Primary Curriculum is… equally committed to improving learning and developing international-mindedness for primary age children. As a curriculum for learning it focuses on developing knowledge, skills and understanding of subjects set within child-friendly, relevant, cross-curricular thematic units of work that are both creative and challenging for children of all abilities.”
The IPC uses an integrative approach towards each subject. Taking a central theme such as Rivers, Celebrations, Transport, Weather, Electricity etc. the children then learn about the theme through different subjects, which are taught consecutively. So for example, ‘Go With The Flow’ is a unit about rivers in Grade 4-5 (Year 5-6). The children spend 2 weeks looking at rivers from a perspective of Geography. This is followed by 3 weeks examining rivers from a Science perspective, and then several weeks in Technology, followed by looking at rivers from the subject of Society.
Between Grade 1 and 5 (Year 2-6) the International Primary Curriculum is divided into three sections:
• Milepost 1 for Grade 1 (Year 2)
• Milepost 2 for Grade 2 & 3 (Year 3 & 4)
• Milepost 3 for Grade 4 & 5 (Year 5 & 6)
Each Milepost follows a two-year cycle where approximately 10 themed units are studied. These units have been chosen for their interest, cultural relevance and to ensure a good balance is achieved across all subjects over the two-year cycle. The units are not only exciting for children and teachers alike, but they encourage an approach that is intercultural; something ideally suited for a school like RICE.
Alongside academic development, the International Primary Curriculum also encourages children to develop personal skills and character; something they call Personal Goals. There are eight Personal Goals… enquiry, adaptability, thoughtfulness, morality, communication, cooperation, respect, and resilience. These focus on providing children with skills that will enable them to succeed, both in school, and then afterwards as they pursue further education and career opportunities. AT RICE we use these eight Personal Goals as part of the character development of our children.
An important part of Literacy is developing strong reading skills. Time is spent each day using the Oxford Reading Tree series from the United Kingdom. Every child is assessed as to their reading level when they first start school. A child’s reading ability is then developed both through daily reading in class and by encouraging a child to read to their parents for 10-15 minutes each day.
For all years we are using the Cambridge ICT Starters textbooks and curriculum.
For Character Development, materials are used from the Character Foundations curriculum series created by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), based in the United States.
Alongside the Ethiopian National curriculum textbooks, we supplement these with British textbooks including the New Heinemann Maths series for Maths, and Cambridge endorsed textbooks for Literacy and Science.
At RICE we believe assessments should contribute to a child’s learning, rather than just providing an end of year summary. Formal assessments in Maths, Literacy, and Amharic are therefore taken every term, with a final End of Year Assessment towards the end of the school year. Assessment results are recorded and evaluated to better inform teachers of a child’s progress and understanding.
Between the formal assessments, the teacher may give smaller assessments and tests.
The IPC units are assessed both during the progress of the unit, where appropriate (e.g. assessing a learning objective that focuses on a child’s piece of artwork), and at the end of the unit through an assessment.
The main language of instruction at RICE is English, with the exception of the Amharic subject, which is taught in Amharic. Where a child is unclear about what is being taught, the teacher may provide individual guidance in Amharic, but should not resort to teaching the class in Amharic, particularly because of the non-Amharic speakers that may be present in the classroom.