Last week, Rwanda joined the rest of the world to mark the International Literacy day organised under the theme “Literacy for Sustainable Societies”. This event sparked the commencement of more efforts to promote the reading culture in the young generation. Experts from institutions such as Rwanda Education Board, Ministry of Education, USAID, Save the Children and other non-government organisations are to further participate in the 30 day events that will include reading campaigns in different schools across the country.
Meanwhile, during the same period, the Higher Education Council (HEC) revealed plans to promote more enrollments of female students into public institutions through part time study options. The strategy arose after the 2013/14 HEC statistics revealed that the number of women in private higher learning institutions stood at 54.3 per cent, much higher than the 32.3 per cent in public institutions that year.
Innocent Sebasaza Mugisha, the HEC executive director, attributed the difference to the conducive environment in the private institutions. He said women in private institutions have access to part-time options of studying, which favour those with extra responsibilities. The council is also hoping to introduce the part-time model to accommodate people who are employed or have other responsibilities in public institutions.
“Part -time studying doesn’t affect the quality of education as the students have the same programmes and modules as those on full time,” Mugisha explained.
He also added that once the advocacy is heard, it could be introduced in public as it is done in private institutions because the education system also allows it.
In news around the region, the Kenya Post-Primary Union of Teachers (Kuppet) advised its members to ignore a sacking threat issued by the Teachers’ Service Commission. Instead, Kuppet says its members will continue to stay away from classrooms until the commission pays up as ordered by the courts. The union which has joined hands with their primary schools counterparts, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), announced a strike on Wednesday last week after TSC declined to pay their salary dues as ordered by the Industrial Court which called for an increment of between 50 and 60 per cent.
Elsewhere around the world, following a four-year conflict that has disrupted schooling in Syria, educators in Germany have acknowledged that it will be a struggle to accommodate all the refugees in schools. A week ago alone, there was an influx of about 20,000 and now debates show concern whether one of the best education systems in the world will be nimble enough to accommodate the refugees.
Compiled by Solomon Asaba