The Minister of Education has said that significant strides have been made in the education sector despite the many challenges encountered in the process.
Dr Charles Murigande was speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Education Sector Joint Review meeting in Kigali.
“Since the last major joint review in October 2009, and even the mini-review in April this year, many developments have taken place in the education sector,” Murigande said.
“Introduction of English as the official medium of instruction has certainly affected the quality of education since the majority of our teachers are not yet fluent in this language.
He said that the implementation of this policy has been very challenging as it became clear that huge resources were needed to train teachers in English proficiency, and for availing sufficient English textbooks for all the courses and at all levels.
According to the Minister, Pre-primary school coverage continues to expand although enrolment reportedly remains relatively low with gross enrolment at 13% in 2009.
Pre-primary education has limited public investments and is largely left to community initiatives with the ministry’s role limited to provision and enforcement of norms and standards and in-service training of pre-primary teachers, officials said.
However, the ministry has recently decided to establish a model pre-primary school in every sector and to introduce pre-primary specialization in all teacher training institutions so as to avail the much needed qualified pre-primary teachers.
Murigande said that his ministry continues to make rapid progress towards the universal 9-Year Basic Education (9-YBE).
He told the education stakeholders that since the last major joint review in October 2009, a further 3,072 9-YBE classrooms have been constructed.
The minister revealed that a total of 5,941 new teachers for primary and secondary schools have been hired and 1,022,000 primary textbooks, 602,000 lower secondary textbooks and 320,000 upper secondary textbooks have been bought and distributed.
Noting that that 9-YBE remains the ministry’s top priority, Dr Murigande said that currently 2,984 new classrooms are being constructed and expected to be completed by January 2011.