Schools have reopened for the third and last term of the academic year, and a number of students have resumed the learning process. And, there is a lot to be done during this term.
This is the time candidates prepare for their final examinations, as other students work hard to ensure they are promoted to the next class.
Experts in the education field say that as much as schools should work hard to ensure better results, parents and students should also put in more effort to make the term more productive.
Irenée Ndayambaje, the director general, Rwanda Education Board, says the school calendar in general is always communicated towards the end of the school year, and that third term is supposed to be shorter, compared to the others.
He says during this time, teachers should know that it’s just a matter of catching up and making sure schools move at the same pace in order to cover the curriculum given.
He adds that instructors should find out if there are uncovered topics or work which is lagging behind, and ensure that it’s covered in time.
However, Ndayambaje advises that schools should not in any way use this time to ignore extra-curricular activities.
“In fact, using this chance to get students involved in such activities is ideal as it keeps them refreshed and boosts their performance,” he says.
Enock Sibomana, a computer teacher, says some of these activities will come in handy when students leave the school environment.
“Being the third term, schools shouldn’t take this time to focus on class subjects only, instead, they should try to cover all areas, and what is required is only time management,” Sibomana says.
What is needed?
Jesse Rayson Shyaka, a Kigali-based youth mentor, says schools have to provide all the requirements needed for students in order for them to perform well.
He says that this should not just be in academics, but also, involving them in initiatives that will encourage independence outside the school environment, especially for candidates.
For instance, Shyaka says, schools should invite mentors and experts to speak to students on different issues including entrepreneurship and how to be helpful in their communities.
“This is supportive, especially to the candidates who will be joining the community as they wait to be enrolled in higher learning institutions,” he says.
JMV Habumuremyi, a lecturer at University of Rwanda, says depending on how students performed last term, they should be examined to find out those who didn’t perform well and help them.
“This will not only improve the performance but also keep them at the same level with others, thus, better results. This can as well change the performance of weak students and enable them to be promoted to another class,” he says.
Habumuremyi says teachers need to use different learning methods to ensure that students move as one, now that there is no time left for another term.
He, however, adds that instructors should focus more on slow learners and work closely with their parents so that they are followed up — on how they are faring at home and school.
Role of parents and students
Ndayambaje says parents should give time to students so that they can revise their work. When it comes to supporting students, parents should be in a position to do so.
“When we talk of giving them time, it means as a parent, providing a conducive environment for your children to revise while at home is important,” he says.
Additionally, he says parents should provide scholastic materials needed for their children to make sure they don’t lack what it takes to excel in academics.
Shyaka says that in order to make sure they stay focused the entire term, students have to be time conscious and avoid things that will distract them.
Habumuremyi says revision of the previous term should be done before going through the work of the current term.
This, he says, will help prepare them for ensuing content and that when it comes to tests or examinations, they can sail through without difficulty.
When it comes to students, Shyaka says knowing their weak areas is vital, and that he believes each and every student should be in the position to identify theirs, especially those in upper classes.
He notes that this helps them work on how they can improve; and that they shouldn’t be shy to seek help whenever they think they are stuck or in need of support.
Shyaka adds that as a learner, studying ahead is also important for candidates as it improves performance. It also helps students make the most of their time.
Sibomana says that since the term is short, learners should be kept busy to prevent them from indulging in vices that are a result of being idle.
“Teachers should always be there to guide their learners, it improves their time management which is also the key to fruitful results,” he says.
Sibomana says that maintaining discipline is also vital as it’s the foundation for good academic performance.
Shyaka says that educators should aim at guiding learners on how to prepare for tests in general, and not just national examinations.
He says they should also help students acquire knowledge on life outside/after school, not just in professions, but also in character building and ethical values as the world today needs such people.
“They should encourage them to apply creativity in their studies. Not limiting themselves to what they study, but being flexible about what can help society and generate income will help them succeed,” he adds.
Venuste Munyeshyaka, Teacher
Institutions should organise inter-school events, especially with those that perform well so that other students can learn from them. By doing this, it helps identify areas that need to be improved as far as learning concerned.
Fred Ndahiro, Kigali resident
I think by mid-term, schools should be done with the curriculum and start revision. This gives candidates enough time for revision, hence, improving their weak areas.
Pascaline Uwamahoro, Parent
Parents should create time for their children and follow up on their academics. Leaving the load to teachers is not good and it could lead to poor performance in their final exams.
Irenee Ntwali, Student at Apaper School, Kicukiro
Teachers should set aside some time to help students who are weak in certain areas. Also, depending on the capability of a parent, providing tutors to coach candidates over the weekend is advisable.