Call for collective effort to improve education quality

DIFFERENT stakeholders in the education sector should work together to ensure they address the challenges facing the sector and mitigate issues undermining quality education in the country.
A pupil of Biryogo primary school writes on a blackboard during a lesson. Timothy Kisambira.
A pupil of Biryogo primary school writes on a blackboard during a lesson. Timothy Kisambira.

DIFFERENT stakeholders in the education sector should work together to ensure they address the challenges facing the sector and mitigate issues undermining quality education in the country.

The call was made during the first day of a nationwide education quality enhancement awareness campaign on Monday.

Officials from the Ministry of Education and affiliated institutions launched the drive that targets over 600 schools, both public and private, during which they will assess various issues including school drop-out and repetition, management efficiency, and hygiene.

In Rubavu District, officials visited G.S Kanama Catholique, a public school, as well as College Saint Wenceslas APEFOC, which is private and held a meeting with school administrators, teachers as well as representatives of parents.

According to Dr Marie Christine Gasingirwa, the Director General of Science, Technology and Research at the ministry, it was important the school administrators understood the concept of competency-based education.

She called for quality education and promotion of cultural values stressing that this would boost quality of education needed to drive the country to social economic transformation.

All this, she said, would not be possible where there is high dropout rate, repetition of classrooms, issues related to poor hygiene and sanitation, unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse, among others.

“All stakeholders need to collectively discuss the issues affecting education to lay a strong foundation because if our students do not have a good foundation, their contribution in the future development of the country will be minimal,” she said

Gasingirwa, who was heading the team that travelled to Rubavu, noted the issues affecting education in the country requires concerted efforts and complementarity to fix.

“Our students need support from parents, teachers and surrounding communities,” she said.

She added: “We all have a responsibility to improve the quality of education and that is why we came to listen to you.”

Head teachers and teachers in the district welcomed the campaign saying it helped them interact with officials from the ministry on challenges they face in their daily activities, some of which were immediately solved.

They however raised issues that affect the teaching process such as lack of enough books and other didactic materials, high teacher-student, ratio the problem of automatic promotion where they are obliged to ensure the repetition rate is not above five per cent, which is may hurt quality.

“Providing quality education is our responsibility and we are committed to it, however we have a problem with the number of students in classes. It is, for instance, hard for a teacher to serve over 100 students in one room, there is need to build more classrooms as well as recruite more teachers,” said SylIvere Nikobahoze, a teacher at G.S Kanama.

The school has over 3,700 students in primary and secondary sections and this year, the ministry admitted over 800 while they have capacity of receiving only 200 students.

“Besides, we don’t have enough books and didactic materials to implement the new competency based curriculum. We also don’t have enough laboratories to apply practice while we offer science courses,” he added.

Agnes Musabyimana, another teacher urged the ministry to squash the automatic promotion policy because children barely put in effort since they are assured of promotion.

“We find it hard to impart quality education when students are aware that they will be promoted to another class after the academic year after all, we are not allowed to make any students repeat and this has been the challenge since very few put in efforts to learn,” she said.

Teachers also said they were ready to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and school dropout cases. They also committed to increase hygiene and sanitation among others.

Officials said that the awareness campaign, which will be carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, will be held on a quarterly basis.

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