Come December, the first technical teachers’ training institute will open in Kigali. Rwanda Technical Teacher Institute (RTTI) is located at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali campus in Kicukiro District.
It is a known fact that teachers or trainers need professional development for them to be able to hone skills in those they seek to impart knowledge. Yet Rwanda’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector has been dogged by the issue of the low capacity of trainers.
Presently, there are many TVET trainers in technical and vocational institutions across the country but the majority of them are not professional trainers as they have not been trained to become teachers. The scenario is akin to when a professional without the basic knowledge on how to train others is recruited to teach anyway.
Also, some of the trainers might have been recruited directly after they graduated from universities and colleges based on their academic qualifications and do not have industrial work experience.
Ultimately, such trainers would lack in philosophical and pedagogical demands of training learners.
But, starting next year when RTTI has been fully equipped with machinery and manpower, including managed skilled in administration of such a facility, the institution will not only train but also coordinate all the training programmes across the country.
The role of TVET trainers cannot be underestimated in a country that is aspiring to achieve middle income status in the next four years. Vocational education and training is learning activity which can contribute to successful economic performance and tangible socio-economic gains. This focus on tangible outcomes an accountability broadly distinguishes TVET from general education system.
Once RTTI is up and running, implementation of a coherent but flexible structure of teacher training programmes on different level based on the high standard of teachers. To make RTTI count even more, it is also important that authorities institute the national TVET-teacher qualification standards as criteria against which somebody will be assessed for entering or exiting a specific teacher-training programme as an element of lifelong professional development.
Good teachers form the foundation of good schools, and improving teachers’ skills and knowledge is one of the most important investments of time and money leaders make in education.
RTTI has plugged is here to plug the gap. All roads must lead toward innovative TVET teachers.