150 teachers complete intensive English course

English teachers use learning materials during the training at TTC Byumba in Gicumbi District. Régis Umurengezi.

Some 150 English language teachers in lower primary level from public schools on Friday completed a two-week intensive English course that aimed at boosting their language proficiency.

The trainees were drawn from three districts.

Held at TTC Byumba and TTC Matimba from Gicumbi and Nyagatare districts respectively, the course was facilitated through the Building Learning Foundation (BLF) programme of the Ministry of Education that aims to improve learning outcomes in English and Mathematics for over 2.6 million children in Rwanda.

Launched last year, BLF is a three-year £25.3 million project, which aims to create a solid foundation at lower primary level – from primary one to primary three.

The trained teachers were drawn from Gicumbi, Nyagatare and Gakenke districts, where teachers have the lowest levels of the English language skills.

 The course beneficiaries who spoke to The New Times said the training was timely.

“The training was very helpful to me. I used to be shy at speaking English with my pupils and colleagues. But now I have gained more confidence as I can talk and understand what every speaker says; I can even talk to an English native speaker easily,” said Vestine Uwitonze, a teacher at GS Byumba from Gicumbi District.

The trained teachers also revealed that the knowledge they acquired will help them to easily implement the competency-based curriculum.

The education advisor at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Steve Harvey, who on Thursday visited the teachers at TTC Byumba in Gicumbi District commended the level of confidence the teachers had gained.

“The training was of high quality - very interactive and participatory. Participants were highly engaged and clearly enjoying themselves. They had grown greatly in speaking confidence during the course,” he said.

He added: The pairing of local and international trainers to team-teach has worked very well. Local trainers have now reached the point of confidently leading sessions,”

BLF targets to empower 24,000 English and Mathematics teachers as well as head teachers in all public primary schools across the country.