RICE offers a blended curriculum of both an international and national Ethiopian curriculum. The majority of our children are Ethiopian, representing approximately 95% of the student body. We also purposely use Ethiopian teachers. The medium of instruction is English, with Amharic taught as the next main language. The combination of curricula used at RICE reflects our international focus, the strong Ethiopian demographic that we serve and the requirement to meet Ethiopian Ministry of Education expectations.
1. Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) (Year 2 / Grade 1 upwards)
Subjects covered – Literacy, Maths & Science
The Cambridge Primary and 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 Year 3/Grade 2 onwards there are Progression tests for each elementary class, which are taken once a year to help the teachers check their students’ progress against the Cambridge Curriculum objectives. These tests are produced externally but marked internally by the class teachers. At Year 6 & 9/Grade 5, 8 the students take an externally produced and marked exam called the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint test. This is marked by Cambridge to help the school to see how their students are doing. 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 Assessment International Education (CAIE) curriculum for Year 2 to 9 (Grade 1 to 8).
2. International Primary Curriculum (Year 2 – 6 / Grade 2 – 5)
Subjects covered – Art, Geography, History, Music, Science, Society, Technology and Internationalism
For the subject areas of Art, Geography, History, Music, Science, Society, Technology and Internationalism we use the International Primary Curriculum or IPC. 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 Year 5. 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 Year 2 – 6/Grade 1-5 the International Primary Curriculum is divided into three sections: Milepost 1 for Year 2/Grade 1; Milepost 2 for Year 3-4/Grade 2-3; and Milepost 3 for Year 5-6/Grade 4-5.
The units have been chosen for their interest, cultural relevance and to ensure a good balance is achieved across all subjects. 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.
The IPC deliberately does not cover the core subjects of English, Maths & Science. For these subjects we use the objectives of the Cambridge Primary Curriculum.
3. Ethiopian National Curriculum (Year 2 / Grade 1 upwards)
Subject – All subjects
Although an international curriculum is used, we are aware of the minimum learning competencies of the Ethiopian National Curriculum (ENC). These have been compared to the international curricula and areas that are not covered by the international curricula are included in lessons throughout the year. This is to ensure that no gaps exist between the international curricula and Ethiopian National Curriculum.
From Year 8 (Grade 7), the Ethiopian National Curriculum guides the learning objectives as we prepare children for the national Ethiopian exams that happen at the end of Grade 8. These exams cover curricula material from Year 8 & 9 (Grade 7 & 8).
4. Guided Reading (Year 2 – 6 / Grade 1 – 5)
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.
ICT material is drawn from several sources including the English National Curriculum, the Cambridge ICT curriculum and our own material.
6. Association of Christian Schools International (Year 2 – 6 / Grade 1 – 5)
Subject – Character Development
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.
Several textbooks are used, including the New Heinemann Maths series for Maths; Cambridge endorsed Literacy, Maths and science textbooks; and Ethiopian Ministry of Education recommended textbooks. The International Primary Curriculum does not have any set textbooks.
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 given four times a year, 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. The Cambridge Progression tests are used for Years 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8 (Grade, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) and Cambridge Checkpoint exam for Year 6 and Year 9 (Grade 5, 8). 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.