The new school term begins today and the Government has hired some 3302 extra primary and secondary school teachers to address the shortage of educators as well as phase out the double shift programme.
The double shift programme in public primary schools was initiated in 2009 to promote education for all. However, education policymakers have realised that the system does not promote quality education and have found it fit to phase it out.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times last week, Irenée Ndayambaje, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board (REB), said that government had already hired more teachers to support the phasing out of the double shift system in primary schools.
Under the double shift arrangement, he said, the Government realised that teachers were less effective in the afternoon, hence compromising quality of education.
When the system is phased out, pupils will be able to attend class for eight hours as opposed to the current arrangement where they either study in the morning or afternoon, making the learning period shorter.
“The number of teachers we had was not enough. With new teachers, we will be able to improve the ratio of teachers to learners,” he said
The phasing out of the double shift system will begin with primary six before being implemented in primary five, according to the Ministry of Education.
The Government has also been working on other initiatives to facilitate a smooth phasing out of the system, including increasing the number of classrooms, teachers as well as school materials such as desks and text books.
“We would like to have more teachers but we have budget constraints. We hope that we will progressively get more teachers and infrastructure,” he said
Government targets to hire at least 18,000 qualified teachers in seven years starting from last academic year.
The Government also plans to construct 28,665 classrooms in seven years.
Adèle Mukanyandwi, the head teacher of Gacu Primary School in Nyanza District, said that she expected more teachers in her school to reduce overcrowding which is relatively high.
“The class ratio is one to between 50 and 60 pupils, it is still high. We had applied for more teachers and we expect some this year, this will address the issue of overcrowding in general and the phasing out of double shift in P5,” she said
Her school, she said, has 1047 students and just 19 teachers.
Jolly Ladegonde Mukase, the head teacher of GS Kacyiryu II in Gasabo District, said the school has managed to build more classrooms with the support from district and parents’ contribution to accommodate the high number of students.
“We have overcrowded in classes and hope that when we get more teachers, we will be able to address this problem,” she said