The government will soon introduce a competency-based curriculum integrating hands-on and entrepreneurial skills in secondary school education, State Minister for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Albert Nsengiyumva has said.
The move aims at building on the achievements of Millennium Development Goals relating to education.
Nsengiyumva was speaking to The New Times from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he attended a two-day Global Education and Skills forum that concluded on Monday.
Citing Rwanda as one of the countries that had achieved their targets in education in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals, the minister said the next step would be looking beyond basic education to focus on quality and relevance.
Rwanda, according to the Ministry of Education statistics, achieved targets of the Millennium Development Goal relating to education (universal education) by registering a 97 per cent enrollment rate at primary school level as well as eliminating gender discrimination in primary and secondary education.
“As we move to transform our education sector, we need to pick lessons from the MDGs and undertake systemic reforms. There should be a paradigm shift from incremental to systemic changes,” Nsengiyumva told The New Times on phone.
He said that the government will, this year, pilot a competency based programme as opposed to a knowledge based curriculum.
“We are also going to pilot skills integration, hands-on skills and entrepreneurship education into our secondary education,” he said.
There will also be adjustments at the tertiary level to respond to the demands of the private sector.
This will be done by raising the capacity of applied research and improving relations between the private sector and the academia, the minister said.
“One of the key purposes for education is to empower young people so that they can get into employment,” the minister added.
Nsengiyumva said the government was also keen on enhancing partnership with the private sector in education.
The private sector should look at education as something they can support in order to increase productivity and competitiveness, he noted.
He said the private sector had begun acknowledging the sector as a viable investment opportunity, given the increasing needs of the 21st century.
Jerome Gasana, the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) director general, told The New Times that the government was working closely with the private sector to boost education in the country.
Gasana noted that the private sector already owns most of the vocational schools in the country. Out of the 365 TVET schools, over 200 of them are privately owned.
Gasana added that they were working closely with the private sector to test the competency of the graduates.
“We recently conducted a survey on employer satisfaction. It showed that over 71 per cent of the employers are satisfied with our graduates and their qualifications. In terms of curriculum development, over 80 per cent of the people developing our curriculum are from the private sector,” Gasana said.
Speaking on Sunday, from the United Arab Emirates, President Paul Kagame who had led the Rwandan delegation to the forum, said progress in education would be achieved not only through funding but by involving multiple stakeholders and forging partnerships.
Citing Rwanda’s approach, the President said the country had chosen to forge partnerships with leading technology firms to be able to maximise technology’s impact on skills acquisition at an affordable cost.