At least 60,000 teachers across the country are expected to attend civic education programme (Itorero) during the upcoming school holidays.
Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Célestin Ntivuguruzwa, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education, said the civic exercise will be for teachers of all levels of education, from kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.
“A weeklong training of trainers kicked off today (Monday) at Nkumba Peace and Leadership Training Centre in Burera District where 337 educationists from all districts and MINEDUC agencies are being prepared as instructors of the forthcoming teachers’ Itorero,” he said.
Ntivuguruzwa said the training will improve teachers’ understanding of Rwandan values, helping them to impart that knowledge to students.
“This is not the first time we are running this noble cause for teachers and it is not the last. We all need to keep updating our skills to streamline the education vision and empower our teachers,” Ntivuguruzwa said.
The first edition of Itorero for teachers was carried out in April 2008.
According to Boniface Rucagu, the chairperson of National Itorero Commission, the first edition played a significant role in reducing cases of genocide ideology in schools.
Rucagu took issue with the fact that for seven years, the teachers have not attended Itorero, saying the civic education must be a regular exercise.
“Trainings are held in every profession at least once a year in many countries to update people’s knowledge but it is now seven years since teachers attended the last Itorero,” Rucagu said, adding that this was bad because it is the students that are the primary beneficiaries.
“Teachers – those who attended the first edition and new comers – need to be updated on the country’s agenda,” he said.
Rucagu said at least 40,000 teachers attended the first edition and 20,000 others have joined the sector over the past seven years. At least 60,000 teachers will attend the 10-day second edition, come December.
Teachers welcome move
Teachers across the country have welcomed the initiative but they asked for the programme to be decentralised to ensure they are trained from their respective communities.
“It is during holidays that we get time to engage in income-generating activities to supplement our salary,which is why I request that we do it from our communities to allow us attend daily from home and to follow up on other domestic activities,” said Justine Nibakure, a teacher at GS Marlene Ruramba in Nyaruguru District.
“Itorero is so important in keeping teachers at a par with the national vision,” she added.
Nibakure, who attended the 2008 edition, also called for the civic training to run for a few days, arguing that that teachers will also have to attend training on the new competence-based curriculum during the holidays.
Felix Hagumimfura, a teacher at GS Murama in Nyabihu District, is eager to attend again and does not buy into the idea of having to commute from home.
“However much holidays are needed, civic education is more important to acquire skills which we use to promote our welfare and the country’s socio-economic development. Itorero centre is actually a school-like environment where we share experiences and tips on the new national commitments,” he said.
Ntivuguruzwa said Itorero for teachers at the higher learning institutions will also be organised soon.