Editorial: REB has a lot of ground to cover; it should do so diligently

Rwanda Education Board (REB) seems to have learnt its lessons the hard way, but it was a necessary learning curve.

Its top leadership was recently shaken up following a school textbook saga and confusion; foreign printers were contracted, who in turn subcontracted local firms who failed miserably by not honouring terms of their contract.

Some publishers even reneged on their commitments and failed to publish, those who did so failed to distribute the books. The fact that the publishers were based outside the country, making corrections was a headache. The challenges were enormous.

The possibility of REB not being in full control of the whole process should have been envisaged to avoid falling into an ambush it could do little about. It disrupted the education process, delayed adopting the new curriculum and generally created an unnecessary mess.

But all that now seems to be a thing of the past as REB has taken matters into its hands and will now be producing its own teaching tools. It will also make it easier to tailor their lessons to the local context and timely make the necessary corrections.

However, the whole affair raises some questions; why would REB invest much in printing books yet the promotion of digital classrooms was its priority? The money spent and lost could have been used to shore up the project instead.

But whatever the case, government agencies should by now have graduated from trial-and-error system of work.  Their ethos should be good planning, rigorous follow-up and commitment to deliver. They should not be the source of financial haemorrhage.

 

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