It is exactly seven years since Rubingo Primary School was transformed into a centre of learning excellence—a place where teachers acquire extra leadership skills to provide quality education.
Rubingo Primary School is located half an hour away from Kigali. Both teachers and parents are convinced that a significant change has taken place in the schools’ teaching methodology.
“Ever since the establishment of the Teacher Resource Centre, we improved our own knowledge and the way we teach; in turn, this improved student’s performance,” explains Viviane Mutarutwa, a teacher who has worked at the school since 2007.
“The more educated we are, as teachers, the more likely our students will get quality education,” she adds.
Teacher Resource Centres (TRC) are an intrinsic element of Child-Friendly-Schools (CFS) because they enable on-site refresher trainings and provide space for teachers to interact, talk to each other and prepare their lessons.
At Rubingo’s TRC, there are typical ‘learning days’ for teachers as designated by the school. Several teachers are eager to learn from trained facilitators about a variety of topics, such as modern teaching methods, child centred methodologies, games and life skills.
They are monitored by the schools’ Head teachers who have partnered with Teacher Training Colleges in the country.
Rwanda has one of the highest primary school enrolment rates in Africa (95 percent in 2010) but the quality of learning still remains a challenge.
“We hope that teachers will improve the quality of learning.
The government’s adoption of Child-Friendly Schools as the model for all schools in the county will improve the education standard,” said Heinrich Rukundo, an Education Specialist at UNICEF.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) began modelling CFS in 2003, and it is, currently ,assisting them to implement both hardware and software components in 75 schools.
“Before UNICEF started providing assistance to make this school child friendly, all we had were dark classrooms with a few benches.
Today, we have bigger brighter classrooms, separate latrines for girls and boys, a playground and, most importantly, a teacher resource centre,” said Jean de la Paix, the Head Teacher of Rubingo Primary School.
He said that, in 2003, about 70 pupils and only four teachers constituted the school but, today, the school has 15 teachers and over 300 students.
“This year over 88 percent of the pupils who sat the National Primary Leaving Examinations passed. Dropping out of school no longer exists because primary education is now free,” he said.