I HAVE BEEN blessed to have had training as an adult educator and also to teach adults in my life. At the same time, I have also spent enough time teaching in a secondary school setting. These situations are quite different.
The skills required to teach children are quite different from those used when handling adults. Pedagogy is the science and art of educating children and it is what most teachers are taught at universities and teacher training colleges. Andragogy on the other hand consists of learning strategies focusing on the education of adults.
As the ministry of education ponders on how to streamline the private candidate scheme, there is need to assess the demographics of those who dominate it. If indeed it is dominated by adults who have missed out on school then adult education practices must be required of the schools that want to offer this service.
Adults cannot be taught the same way as children and teachers handling them (adults) ought to know this very clearly. Adults come to a learning situation willingly and with clarity of objectives unlike ordinary school students who are often in school because someone is paying for them or the state expects them to be there (free education).
The other main reason why the private candidates’ scheme was becoming problematic is that it had quickly become an escape route for vagabonds expelled from school. Students with pregnancy issues, school fees abusers, drug abusers and or sorts of misfits would run to this scheme to register and sit for examinations.
For this particular problem, the education authorities must find ways of curbing indiscipline in schools so as to stem the flow of unruly students flocking a scheme that was not even intended for them in the first place. In all this, parents also need to be more vigilant as we have had many cases of children pretending to be at school yet they have actually opted to be private candidates without the knowledge of their parents.
At the end of the day, Rwanda Education Board needs to tighten the registration system of the private candidates’ scheme to keep out those who are intending to cheat the education system. More especially students who skip classes to sit national exams need to be barred from abusing the system. It is really not too late or too hard to fix this window of opportunity so that it can be effective in increasing access to education.