Education sector in 2018: Stakeholders outline expectations

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A mentor talks to students about the importance of setting goals and developing a work-plan. (Lydia Atieno)

At the start of every New Year, people have a lot of expectations for better outcomes across sectors. Education being a pivotal sector in shaping the country’s development agenda requires priority and better strategies and reforms to deliver on this noble goal. Education Times’ Diane Mushimiyimana asked different people about the issues they would love to see addressed in 2018 in a bid to attain quality education.

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Marie Immaculee 

Marie Immaculee  Ingabire, chairperson, Transparency Rwanda

I think the Ministry of Education needs to be more stable in terms of leadership. There are a lot of changes happening there which disturb effective teaching and learning at all  levels in one way or another as every new leader comes with new changes other than building on existing foundations. It’s high time the Ministry got strong leadership to achieve the desired quality of education. 

I also think the idea of suspending universities without fist preparing how the affected students will be taken care of is not fair. It came with big losses for parents and students. Next time, the concerned authorities should make sure they use an approach that minimises harm.

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Habumuremyi

Jean Marie Vianney Habumuremyi, lecturer at University of Rwanda’s College of Education

At university level, I think the welfare of students should be looked into. With the present market prices, the monthly Rwf25,000 is not enough for students t.

Also, the University of Rwanda still lacks sufficient numbers of well-qualified lecturers, and therefore still relies heavily on expatriates. There is a need to offer post-graduate scholarships for teachers to acquire adequate skills, thus enabling them to deliver research-based content.

School facilities are also facing challenges, especially access to research materials and quality teaching aids. When you need a book or research article you are required to pay for it. I think the University can look at putting in place free e-library to make access to information affordable for teachers and students.

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Akingeneye

Esperance Akingeneye, founder Hobe Rwanda

I think pre-primary education needs to be strengthened because it is the right place for the child’s foundation for lifelong progress. The skills and knowledge that the child develops in the pre-school have a great impact on the aptitude and attitude of the child later in life. The child’s positive learning attitude, the basic foundation in language, comprehension and management, help the teacher facilitate the child’s learning at kindergarten and higher levels of education among others.

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Claude Bizimana, head of SEDI Rwanda

We appreciate the fact that primary and secondary education is free. However, there is more contribution required to cater for teachers’ bonuses and feeding, among others. For children under Ubudehe 1 category, it is not easy to get that school contribution which leads some to drop-out of school. The Ubudehe categories should be considered and those in category 1 be exempted from making such contributions.

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Kanyana

Gisele Kanyana, founder Urungano Arts Centre

Career guidance should be emphasised in schools focusing on what students are interested in. No one should impose on a child what to follow as long as they are not interested in it. Some students find themselves taking on careers that their parents want as opposed to what they love, which may affect their success in life.

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 Uhirwa,

Sylvia Uhirwa, admission and communications officer at Kepler University

There is lack of sufficient integration of ICT in teaching and learning. Consequently, students emerge from learning institutions with serious gaps in competencies and skills required to address both individual and societal needs as far as economic development is concerned. Therefore, ICT in education from early years should be emphasised.

Also, there is a need to promote critical thinking programmes to enable children think beyond the box and develop innovations and creativity for better future career outcomes.

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Julius Zigama, founder Gama Arts Centre

This year, there is a need to give more space to co-curricular activities such as sports, writing, painting and dancing to help students  identify their  interests and passions. This not only encourages creativity, but such activities pave way to self-discovery. Also, career guidance is one important aspect that is in short supply in the education system. This has often seen many students struggle to identify the courses that match their aptitude and talents.

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Niyirora

Emmanuel Niyirora, financial officer and teacher mentor at Teach Rwanda

In line with the new curriculum, there is a need to increase teacher workshops on the competence-based curriculum.

The number of teachers who were trained is still low.  As Teach Rwanda, we plan to provide for 100 teachers each term, but other partners in education can contribute as well to make sure all teachers understand well the new curriculum which will have a positive impact on learning methodology they use.

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Niyigaba

Prudence Niyigaba, P4 pupil GS Nyarusange in Nyaruguru District

The majority of rural children don’t have enough information about sex and reproductive health. This knowledge gap leads to unwanted pregnancies and other health issues. Parents and teachers are still uncomfortable with talking to their children about such subjects. There is need for all stakeholders to increase platforms where youth can learn about such sensitive issues to be able to make informed decisions.

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Magambo

Vincent Magambo, director of studies at Nu-Vision High School

We appreciate that the new competence-based curriculum has come into force and has the capacity to improve learning outcomes. However, there is a challenge of lack of instructional materials. We hope this year, all the missing teaching materials will be available with the beginning of the academic year to help the students and teachers comply with the requirements of the new curriculum.

I would also wish information flow to be improved at district level because many private schools always have a challenge of getting information on new programmes and policies late. We wish to be informed on time so that we include these polices in our plans.