The First Lady, Mrs Jeannette Kagame, has said that there is need for more effort in raising awareness of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and to have teachers who are well trained in the matter.
Mrs Kagame made the call, yesterday, during the inaugural graduation ceremony at Premier ECDE Teachers’ College which saw 41 educationists in the ECD specialty graduate, some with certificates, others with diplomas.
The event coincided with the celebration of the Day of the African Child.
In 2013, Imbuto Foundation, in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, initiated the ECD programme in 10 districts.
Today, 6,067 children are raised from there and 6,034 parents attend daily activities.
More centres are yet to be opened up this year.
The First Lady said that, four years into the programme , it was discovered that the role of parents in ECD is exceptional as it helps them better understand their role in the development of their children, right from conception.
She applauded the achievement attained by the college, saying it is a sign that Rwandans have understood that they are responsible in finding solutions to their problems.
“Your first step today has the potential to positively change and influence future generations and for that I thank you for taking this task upon yourselves to be that change. Indeed what we have achieved today will change lives,” she said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that in the past five years nursery schools increased more than double to 2,757 in 2016, from 1,870 in 2012.
With this, the First Lady said it is important to have more schools that offer training to ECD teachers, adding that proper education of children at the youngest age is key, since it’s the basis of their life.
Francoise Nyirantagorama, the vice-chancellor of Premier ECDE Teachers College, said the graduation was an exciting occasion for the graduating class, parents, lecturers and the entire community because it marks the successful conclusion of a long and challenging journey to academic harvest.
“Your achievement today signifies certification to enter the world of work to join the productive labour force that will move this country from where it is to where it should be,” Nyirantagorama said.
Need for efficiency
The Government acknowledged, in its education policy pronouncements, “the teacher is the main instrument for bringing about desired improvements in learning and that adequate teacher management structures, policies and strategies are key factors that determine teachers’ performance.” The status of teachers has, therefore, become the focus of the Government’s development agenda.
“Efficiency is required to properly utilise scarce resources of this nation, the nation and the region look forward to the effective utilisation of your ECD skills, let this be marked by moral integrity and accountability,” Nyirantagorama added.
Patricia Toroitich, the chairperson of board of directors, said: “This day marks a major milestone for us and for the nation at large as we produce the very first Early Childhood Development teachers. Our very special appreciation goes to His Excellency Paul Kagame for his continued support and focused leadership which has clear and straightforward policies that have enabled us to graduate our students.”
Premier ECDE Teachers College is a private institution of higher learning that provides high quality early childhood teacher training for pre-school teachers and primary one, two and three teachers.
It was established in 2013 with an aim of filling the gap of scarcity of ECD teachers while at the same time supplementing and supporting the government‘s endeavour to enhance ECD education through supply of qualified teaching personnel.