An article in this newspaper raised a very important question over the scrapping of the double shift education system in schools. It wondered whether schools were ready to cope with the new arrangements.
The double shift was introduced to cater of the high number of students who were registered because of the free basic education system. Some students attended classes in the morning and others alternated in the afternoon.
This meant that classes would in many cases be overcrowded because pupils in hitherto two classes would be massed together and teachers would have to double their efforts if good results were to be expected.
Present day Rwanda inherited many problems and navigating through needed to sometimes doing things by the ear; trying one thing and if it failed shift gear It was more or less trial-by-error.
Education was one area that really needed a lot of reengineering. Education in old Rwanda was a privilege and not a right and catered for a few. Therefore the infrastructure was very limited when the sector was re-imagined and reformed.
So reverting to a single shift system will have students as the first victims at the beginning. The high student-teacher ratio will mean that they will not be able to get the teachers’ required attention as he or she will be dividing it among many students.
The infrastructure will be overwhelmed and could create some unexpected hidden costs therefore school authorities should brace themselves for some unpleasant surprises.
However, it is hoped that as time goes by, school authorities will come up with new strategies to counter the new challenges, but it will need to look further than the old trusted trial-by-error system that has dogged the system for years.