Teachers have been urged to take training opportunities seriously as government continues to invest heavily in capacity building of educationists.
The call was made yesterday during closure of a three week mentorship programme that brought together over 800 English teacher.
The training, which took place in Rwamagana District, was organised by Rwanda Education Board (REB) in partnership with Rwandan Teacher Education Programme (RTEP), established three years ago in partnership with the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP).
The programme aims at increasing the effectiveness of Rwandan teachers and developing a new cadre of local educational leaders.
For three weeks, trainees underwent training in the English language covering, especially fluency, education methodology, ICT for the classroom, peace promotion and conflict resolutions.
While closing the training, Janvier Ismail Gasana, the director general of Rwanda Education Board, urged the trainees to put to good use the knowledge they acquired, stressing that education is a very sensitive sector that if not well developed, other sectors would be affected.
“The government is investing in you to be able to teach the young generation which will in turn teach future generation. This is a very big responsibility, it is not business as usual, never take it for granted,” he said.
“Every investment should generate income, if we can bring people from as far as America, they are not tourists, they had a mission to help you move from one step to another. We will ensure we assess the impact through the kids you are teaching and teachers you will be mentoring.”
While teachers complain of not having enough materials, especially for the new curriculum, Gasana challenged them to take care of didactic materials they have such as books stressing that some schools are misusing even a few materials they have.
“A good leader is someone who maximise scarce resources at their disposal,” he said, adding that the government is working hard to avail required didactic materials.
“Government has education at heart, we cannot develop without developing education sector. The only pillars that we have are teachers, disciplined, committed teachers, so this calls for a shift in mind set,” Gasana noted
Dr Joseph Olzacki, the director of the programme, said he was optimistic the training would be of great importance given the expertise of trainers both from USA and locals.
He said the unique thing was that they bring people with 15 and 20 years of experience to train their Rwanda colleagues, adding that an assessment had established the training has had a positive impact.
He challenged participants to work hard and use the newly acquired skills to train their colleagues as well as ensure that students are fully supported to learn better.
Participants speak out
Participants who talked to Saturday Times said the training equipped them with additional knowledge which would help them mentor their colleagues as well as students.
“I am grateful for the training as it equipped me with skills that will help me become a good mentor, we learn how to better teach English by promoting fluency, we learnt how to use ICT for education as well as promote peace,” said Theogene Gatete, from GS Matimba in Nyagatare District.
“However, we still need didactic materials as well as computers to help in monitoring and evaluation. We need clear guidelines in all schools, transport fees as it will be difficult to travel to different places,” he added.