Govt rolls out peer mentoring programme to address skill gap among teachers

Students during a class session. Emmanuel Kwizera.

Scaling up peer mentoring and in-house production of textbooks are some of the addressing the obstacles for executing competency-based curriculum, according to the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education.

Dr Isaac Munyakazi made the remarks Tuesday as he briefed the senate on the implementation of the competency-based curriculum, which focuses on giving students practical skills.

Senators said that students from various schools across the country had raised concerns related to lack or delays in receiving textbooks.

The senators also said that they had conducted a countrywide tour in schools where they discovered that some teachers lacked the competence to implement the curriculum.

Dr Munyakazi said that in-house book production and the peer training model will enhance the implementation of the curriculum.

While he acknowledged that the first cohort of students to enrol on the programme did not have adequate learning materials, the ministry was working to address the issue.

The curriculum is being implemented in phases. The students who enrolled firs are sitting for their national exams this year.

The delays in distributing the textbooks were caused by the fact that they were being imported, spending a month in customs waiting for clearance.

“These delays affected teaching and learning such that, sometimes, students sit examinations before the books arrive,” he said.

The move will increase the book to student ratio, the Minister said.

He added that they target a ratio of one book per student.

“This achievement itself will enhance the quality [of education] and implementation of this curriculum because you cannot get the desired [academic] outcome when students are sharing books,” he said.

Thanks to the development, he said, the ministry has already signed copyright deals with publishers.

“With that arrangement, we have right to make changes in the textbooks in case we realize they lack the quality we want,” he said, adding that; “We also have electronic copies of the books, which can be sent to schools using ICT when the printed versions have not yet reached the schools”.

Senator Laurent Nkusi proposed that teachers should own the training programme, whereby the directors of studies at schools monitors teachers’ performance based on peer to peer help.

On the training aspect, Munyakazi said the ministry was rolling out a peer mentoring programme, which will also lower costs related to training of teachers.

“We wanted change in the way training is carried out and also the performance of teachers,” Munyakazi observed.

The Director General of Rwanda Education Board (REB), Dr. Irénée Ndayambaje, said that peer based mentoring was a timely solution to improving the competence of

“So, we produced Continuing Professional Development (CPD) manuals, whereby teachers can read them by themselves, then the mentors will facilitate them as they exchange ideas,” he said.

CPD manuals enable teachers to commit to a progressive professional learning through education and training.

“We are going to distribute 26,480 copies of CPD manuals to schools, this year,” added.