New school curriculum to undergo assessment

Teachers test the online tool that would help address issues faced in the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum. Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.

Online tools that are set to monitor how teachers and other stakeholders are working to implement the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) will soon be rolled out, after undergoing a successful test run.

The tools, that were developed by Rwanda Education Board (REB) in partnership with British Council through Connecting Classrooms programme, were tested on Saturday at GS Rilima Catholique in Bugesera District.

The CBC was launched in 2015 after the review of the old curriculum to align the education system with national aspirations and to ensure that the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values acquired by Rwandans in schools meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The new curriculum is learner-centered and takes learning to higher levels by providing challenging and engaging learning experiences which require deep thinking rather than just memorisation.

Teachers and head teachers acquired various training before and during the implementation of the curriculum on how they can better ensure smooth implementation.

However, there remains a big gap in its implementation, especially at school level, which, officials said, necessitated an impact assessment to identify such gaps, and work to fix them.

The assessment aims at reviewing the understanding of teachers and school managers of the competency based curriculum and understanding of core skills (generic competences) and level of implementation of active methodology in school.

It also seeks to review the actual practices and understanding of inclusion in schools, identify persisting gaps in head teachers supporting the teaching and learning activity in schools.

Tools for teachers, head teachers as well as other stakeholders will have a set of questions each which they will answer and submit online and officials said it is more efficient and faster as it gives direct data which are gathered and analysed.

While most schools can access internet, provision was made for those that are not connected, where they will access the assessment tools from local administrative offices like sectors.

The assessment can also be done using smart phone gadgets, according to officials.

According to Irénée Ndayambaje, the Director General of REB, three years since the new curriculum was launched, there is need to assess the level of implementation to ensure maximum impact.

“We know that the new curriculum presents some challenges and we want to hear from teachers, head teachers as well as others involved, what are the challenges and see how we can address them together,” he said

Other participants will be District Education Officers (DEOs) Sector Education Officers as well as parents and students to help identify the role each is playing towards smooth implementation of the curriculum.

It is estimated that the assessment will target about 3,000 sample schools and 6,266 teachers from pre-primary to the upper secondary level.

According to Julian Parry, the team leader, Building, Learning Foundation at British Council, said it was a huge achievement to have the tools already in the hands of teachers and head teachers.

“Anything that can help us understand what teachers and stakeholders need to implement the Competency Based Curriculum is important,” he said, adding that he was optimistic the tools will bring about positive changes.

Teachers speak out

Anne-Marie Mujawimana, a teacher at Ecole Primaire Karirirma in Bugesera District, said she was ready to use the tool.

“We will use the tool to air out the issues we encounter in the implementation of the new curriculum and we hope they will be addressed, the tool is user friendly as it was tested here, otherwise, it would have taken longer to fill in all the answers on papers,” she said.

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