The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC, through the Rwanda Education Commons (REC), has embarked on a program to scale up the learner-centred methodology of teaching in schools across the country.
REC is a project in the ministry, which aims to help Rwanda expand access to quality education through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).
It does this by implementing activities that use ICTs to supplement teaching and learning.
In 2006, government introduced the learner centred methodology of teaching as opposed to the lecture method because it was ascertained to be more effective. The method involves learners taking the centre role during the lesson while the teacher acts as the coordinator.
Experts say that when the learner takes the initiative to come up with ideas during the lesson, it sticks in their brain than when the teacher does the lecturing.
The plan to intensify the methodology began yesterday through a trial run which involved a cross section of instructors at teacher training colleges and some high school teachers. The training took place at the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).
Speaking to The New Times, the education content specialist at REC, Raymond Mwesigye said that the instructors and teachers, who are mainly science teachers, would implement the program further.
“Since we are now dealing with instructors in TTCs, they are expected to use the skills they will gain while training the teachers,” said Mwesigye, stressing that the student teachers will begin their profession knowing how to use the methodology.
He also explained that the instructors and teachers will take part in helping develop content for primary schools that will be incorporated in the education portal managed by REC as well as their smart learning program aired on Rwanda Television.
According to the Coordinator of REC, Louise Karamage, the outcome of the trial will also be used in both programs to benefit other teachers and students.
In his remarks, the Vice Rector for Academics at KIE, Dr. James Vuningoma, reiterated the benefits of the program and explained that KIE is currently training teachers in the methodology.
“Gone are the days when we used to think that the teacher is everything and the student is nothing,” said Vuningoma. He explained that the methodology helps produce critical and analytical self-reliant students.
In an interview, John Rwamwana, a teacher at Lycee de Kigali, said that the methodology does not only lead to effective learning, but also makes it easier for the teacher to prepare the lessons.
“All I do is preparing a sequence of activities and allow the students to do their own research and come up with their own findings,” said Rwamwana.
He however, explained that one challenge that teachers face with the methodology is the large class numbers which makes it difficult to manage.
For Rose Kwerakwiza a student at APRED Ndera, the new methodology that is already being applied at her school has helped her do away with cramming.
“We no longer cram. The methodology helps us to feel free and open around the teacher due to the constant interaction during the lesson.”