I would like to thank Stephen Mugisha for the article, “Textbook management, usage critical factors for educators” (The New Times, September 24).
However, based on his rough estimate of the current textbook student ratio of 1:3, I think it would have been very informative if he clearly indicated the source of that information; otherwise, the article left us the readers with a lot of questions about that ratio.
Secondly, it would have been better if Stephen had told us that the rough estimate (1:3) was specifically for government-sponsored schools or simply general (private schools inclusive). Otherwise, keeping the books away from students is a ‘disease’ we should prevent and cure as soon as possible because it would undermine the country’s aspirations as far as education is concerned.
I wish to thank Mr. Mugisha for highlighting one of the critical malaises with regard to the utilisation of textbooks in schools. The Government of Rwanda aims at ensuring the textbook-pupil ratio of 1:1 and has decentralised textbook distribution, giving more control to schools to decide the type and amounts of textbooks required at a given time.
You have to note that this is linked to curricula. However, the textbook utilisation is still a challenge as the author observed, even as he did not specify which textbooks he meant. Did he mean readers, workbooks? As a teacher/educator, the author should have provided practical solutions on how those textbooks can be used, rather than only highlight what we already know given that the culture of reading is still low.
How do you improvise your trainees, future teachers to use textbooks? Thanks.
This is a common practice in our schools. Some tell you that they have to keep the books for auditors because they have to prove they have them. Now, where is the issue – is it lack of libraries and library systems to manage the books, or lack of training on textbook usage to teachers? Teachers impart knowledge just the same way they were taught. How can that be changed?