After seven months of closure, the government has given the green light to reopen schools as long as Covid-19 preventive guidelines are implemented and maintained.
Academic activities were halted on March 14 after the first recorded case of Covid-19 in Rwanda, and all learning institutions had no option but to adapt to e-learning methods.
However, internet access, laptops and other challenges were present to some students. And for many parents, though schools are reopening, there is concern that students who did not stay on track during the past seven months, may be left behind by others who were able to do so.
“Not only was there an issue of having no access to the internet, they were even demotivated because they were uncertain if they were returning to school, which led to anxiety,” says Marthe Mukamana, a mother of four living in Kayonza District.
However, parents can be comforted by the zeal of several educators who promise willingness to work with all students.
Faustin Nshubijeho, the principal of College Saint Andre, says that the teachers have been trained to ensure students who resumed their studies, and those who did not have access to the material, are all on the same page.
“Teachers were trained to work with students and identify their different levels and keep them up to speed,” he says.
Jacques Hakizimana, the head teacher of College du Christ-Roi Nyanza, says the issue is familiar and promises that teachers are ready to address the matter.
“Those with challenges will be taken into consideration first, more support will be provided to them so that they can catch up,” he says.
Martin Masabo, the principal of Lycée de Kigali, says the first thing is to make sure students are back to an academic mood, as they have been sluggish for a long time.
“Students have had different experiences. We need to first talk to them so that they regain the studying mood. We will have to approach them and make sure they are ready,” he says.
Rwanda Education Board has provided a framework to support students who may not have continued with their studies during the time away from school, says Irénée Ndayambaje, the director general.
“At the time of reopening, we will be working closely with all the schools. Educators are asked to first make a thorough revision of what was covered in the last term, check out what they have learnt during the break, and have a shape of the kind of support they need,” he explains.
They will move on with their studies, after being put on the same level of understanding, he adds.
Speaking to The New Times, educators say that getting learners’ back into school comfortably is not only the educators’ role, but parents too.
Emmanuel Mudidi, a former education minister, says that the role of parents is crucial.
“Parents have a great role to play in this. They are the ones who have been with students for the last seven months, so they need to make sure they are on track and not anxious to continue studies,” he says.Follow ByishimoBertra3