Textbooks and related learning materials, such as workbooks and teacher guides, are widely assumed to be key inputs in effective schooling systems. Some recent statistical analyses have challenged the validity of such assumptions and highlighted the tendency for textbook availability to be used as a proxy for textbook use. However, few studies have explored whether textbooks are actually used, and if not, why not. This article aims to address this gap in the literature by presenting the findings from a nationwide survey of textbook use in Rwandan basic education and providing a detailed analysis of current use of textbooks in a range of Rwandan classroom settings and an exploration of the barriers to their effective use. Findings show that textbooks are infrequently used because of inconsistencies in the availability of textbooks for all learners and perceptions of the quality and accessibility of those books that are available. Conclusions suggest the implications for textbook development, distribution and use in Rwanda and point to the need for greater understanding of the complexities of the ways that textbooks can be used as effective learning support materials for all learners.
- Education quality