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The things they learned

Three Stones Senior Education, Trafficking and Child Protection Expert, Dr. Timothy Williams, recently published an article in the Journal of Development Studies about the experience of students attending schools of basic education in Rwanda.



The paper is titled ‘The things they learned: aspiration, uncertainty, and schooling in Rwanda’s development state.’ It draws on the passionate voices of children and teachers to look at local experiences of education policy and implications. The bottom-up perspective in the paper serves as a complement to the top-down political economy lens focused on this same issue that was published in World Development last year.


The title of the paper was inspired by Tim O’Brien’s classic book, “The Things They Carried” in which the author narrates the deeply personal experiences of soldiers through the material possessions they carried within them to war. Informed by this perspective, this paper offers an account of what children learned—i.e., how they thought about themselves and their futures—through their experience of school in a policy context in which the government has sought to rapidly expand access.


Dr. Williams is an adjunct professor at Boston College School of Social Work and Senior Education, Trafficking and Child Protection Expert for Three Stones. He has published over 15 articles in some of the world’s leading journals. The study above does not represent the views of Three Stones.

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