Last week, a group of students from Riviera High School went for an academic trip to Dubai.
According to the school, they always organise two annual kinds of trips, national and international.
At the school, they have a programme known as BTEC which basically deals with business and it’s through this that they get to organise such trips for their learners to learn more in the world of business.
According to Jane Nakaayi, the head of the department of languages at the school, they always take their students to business centres, like manufacturing companies, so that they learn more about how things are done practically.
What to know about academic trips
Nakaayi says depending on the school, it’s ideal to have two types of trips, national —which are carried out within the country, and international trips — carried outside the country.
She notes that it’s best for teachers to understand that for any academic trip to happen, it has to be attached to a certain subject, adding that without this, the whole thing becomes meaningless.
For instance, she says, an educator may have business students and they want them to know what happens outside the school environment, to learn the practical capability of the things that they learn in theory.
Depending on the objective of the trip, she says there could also be geography, physics or language trips.
“Before a trip is set, organisers must have the objectives of that particular trip, once they are set, look for the place where you will carry out those objectives,” she says.
She adds that there should also be a pilot study after the trip is set just to ensure everything is in order.
She goes on to add that teachers should as well prepare an itinerary, which is a list of places to visit and what activities will be carried out.
She, however, adds that when organising such trips, it’s important to blend fun and learning to break the monotony, but in the long run, ensure that the objectives set are achieved.
Role of teachers and parents
Faustin Mutabazi, the chief executive officer at Educational Consultancy Bureau, an organisation that supports education and curriculum activities in Kigali, points out that some parents don’t understand these kinds of trips.
Therefore, he says, it’s the role of teachers to explain to them the benefits that come along with these trips, especially when it comes to a student’s academic life.
Once they understand, he says, it becomes easy for them to participate in everything that is required.
Meanwhile, he says, it’s important for parents to give consent to their children to participate in trips arranged by the school.
Teachers, he says, need to carry out a thorough assessment of the places to visit, to ensure the trip will add value to education.
Education experts believe that students who have travelled to different places have an advantage over those who haven’t.
The major importance of such trips, Jackyline Iribagiza, a counsellor and matron at Martyr School in Remera, says, is that students get to be exposed to a different environment, which helps them become open-minded.
She adds that learners get to see more of the world and study other cultures, which is different from what they are taught in class.
“Students get to understand how the knowledge acquired in school is applied in the real world,” she says.
On the other hand, Iribagiza points out that academic trips help learners figure out what they want to do in the future.
Nakaayi agrees, saying to some extent, academic trips help learners make decisions about their future.
They get to learn from other people, which is beneficial because there is so much to learn out there.
“They get to understand the challenges faced by various companies or individuals, therefore, learning how to handle them in their own quests,” she says.
Mutabazi notes that school trips should be given a priority, and that learners should not be subjected to learning only theory, but real-life situations as well.
“Learners develop a social-emotional relationship amongst themselves and in the communities they visit,” Mutabazi says.