AT LEAST 800 primary and secondary school teachers are set to get computers that would facilitate them to not only mentor their colleagues but also ease their work.
Janvier Ismail Gasana, the director general of Rwanda Education Board (REB), said the teachers recently completed a mentorship programme, that focused on improving language fluency, education methodology, ICT for the classroom, peace promotion, and conflict resolutions.
The trained teachers were sent to their respective schools to serve as English mentors but also help in other areas such as ICT and in peace promotion among others, according to Gasana.
The training was organised by REB in partnership with Rwandan Teacher Education Programme (RTEP), established three years ago in partnership with the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP).
The programme aims at increasing the effectiveness of Rwandan teachers and developing a new cadre of local educational leaders.
However, according to Gasana, teachers would not be able to implement what they have acquired in the training without computers.
He said that this is also in line with government’s plan to equip schools with ‘smart classrooms.’
At least two smart classrooms are planned for each secondary school while primary schools have been receiving small computers for kids under the One Laptop per Child Programme that started in 2007.
“We realised that we can’t continue giving equipment to schools without empowering teachers in using those technologies and training them so that at the end of the day they are able to drive the smart classrooms that we are installing,” Gasana said in a recent interview.
He said that about 2000 teachers have previously received computers.
“With computers we have a system whereby every teacher can access and share information, share lessons and schemes of work but also interact with REB officials online,” he added.
“We have them in our warehouse, we are just trying to install the required software. We hope to give them out at the beginning of the next academic year,” he noted.
Teachers who talked to The New Times expressed optimism, saying using computers in their daily duties will ease their research, lesson planning as well as interaction with their colleagues and education officials.
“When a computer is used in teaching it becomes a motivational tool to both teachers and learners, it also helps teachers conduct research about specific subjects, eases planning and preparation of lessons and sharing of resources,” said Jean Damascene Kamali, from Groupe Scolaire Ndego, in Nyagatare District.
“It also helps in implementation of education technology as it is recommended that teachers should use ICT to improve the quality of education in all subjects. Having computers will also ease communication among teachers through emails, chat forums, among others.”