REB on countrywide career guidance drive

The week-long campaign started on Tuesday and will have education experts meet students and teachers in different locations for career guidance discussions.
Dr. Irénée Ndayambaje, the Director General of the Rwanda Education Board speaks to the journalist during the interview in Kigali. Sam Ngendahimana

The Ministry of Education through Rwanda Education Board (REB) is on a countrywide drive to help learners the culture understand what is on the labour market, their abilities and potential for them to make informed decisions when they choose options in upper secondary.

The campaign also seeks to particularly encourage top performing students to consider Teacher Training College (TTC) education given the incentives the government has committed to give them.

The week-long campaign started on Tuesday and will have education experts meet students and teachers in different locations for career guidance discussions.

Speaking to The New Times, on Tuesday, Irénée Ndayambaje, REB Director General, said career guidance was important given that students may end up making a life-changing decision without thinking deeply.

He said that when informed, students will eventually align their potentials with the labour market.

“We therefore let our students know there are opportunities that are out there so that these are connected with their potential, abilities and aspirations,” he added.

“REB has got a special unit in charge of career guidance which never used to be there. It is REB’s other arm to make sure that we train people who respond to the country’s needs”.

He said however that career guidance was very broad as there is no field of study that can be undermined.

“However, there is what we call national priorities. For the time being, Sciences Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) which are major drivers of the economy are being empowered,” he said.

Why learners should join TTCs

 Ndayambaje said that in order to have a knowledge-based economy driven by both STEM and TVET which are mainly offered in upper secondary, there was need to improve TTCs and encourage more learners to enroll in them.

“We need to have an educated society and to achieve that, we need well trained teachers and the cabinet resolution {in January) strengthening Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) and demonstration schools,” he noted.

Previously, he added, TTC graduates were not given a chance to go for further studies and the teaching profession was not valued enough.

“This time the government wants to boost the teachers’ role and their motivations, and that starts from inciting students to choose TTCs,” he said.

Among the incentives, if a TTC graduate serves three years in primary or in pre-primary, they will have a chance to get a university scholarship as well as those in secondary will serve five years.

“We are calling for bright and highly motivated learners to choose TTCs given those incentives,” he said.

The government had early last year increased Teachers’ salaries by 10 per cent and it said it will keep working on what can improve their welfare.

Teachers also have their own bank, Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (Umwalimu Sacco) where teachers can save and get long term loans with low interests.

Learners, educationalists speak out

Learners and educationalists who talked to The New Times welcomed the career guidance campaign saying it was long overdue and that if well conducted, it would change the way students chose options in upper secondary which also affects higher learning opportunities.

“It is a good move that REB seeks to guide learners to choose options in upper secondary, sometimes you realise that a learner in a certain option could do better in another, but there was nothing one could do as there was no career guidance,” said Innocent Twiringiyimana a secondary school teacher in Rwamagana district.

“Career guidance is very importance because even now I don’t know what I will choose. I still need to think about it and I need to seek advice from my parents and colleagues. But now we will be able to know what option to choose and why,” said Christian Mugisha, a second year student.