This may be the only school in Africa using the Expeditionary Learning Model (elschools.org), although only in practice, not in name. Our mission for the day was to interview teachers, students and it's director and founder, Robin in hopes of getting the down and dirty, nitty gritty, tough-love kind of advice that we need to start a private school on the other side of the country in an even more difficult context.
The realities of any private school in Africa are mostly not pretty, and throw in with that the fact that this school started with 22 out of 24 students taken right off the street. RL still subsidizes 70% of student tuition fully five years into the process and is seeking to use the innovative Expeditionary Learning model in a country that is by and large still using (and testing to) a traditional, content-heavy system. With limited resources the school has very few amenities and yet still manages to attract and pay for some of the most talented teachers in the country. So talented and well-trained in fact that they've created another problem--4 of the founding teachers have been recruited out of the school and into the University of Rwanda's College of Education in the last 3 months. This means that the huge investment in human capital and institutional knowledge necessary for leading an innovative model into stability is just suddenly...gone. No doubt these teachers have gained valuable skills and a pedagogy that will benefit the entire country through their jobs at the university, and one can't blame them for pursuing higher wages, but herein lies one of the reason why education evolves so slowly!