Rwandan Educators Look to Reinvent Country’s Curriculum

Rwandan teachers are beginning a curriculum review as about 200 people, including teachers, church representatives, and private citizens met in Musanze District to take part in the debate.

This review, which targets the current pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools began last year, and should be completed in 18 months.

Jean D’Amour Mbonyinshuti writes in All Africa that the focus of the review is to revamp education so that it can provide to Rwandan students essential knowledge, values, attitudes, and competent skills.  Dr. Mathias Harebamungu, state minister of primary and secondary school is targeting the need for students to gain skills and have a competitive edge in the regional and international labor market.  This phase of the review will include what the children must learn, how they should learn, and how they will be assessed.

One directive that the minister gave to the participants was that they should engage in debates and the sharing of experiences:

“An exercise like this calls for enriching debates and varying views basing on individual backgrounds in different education systems or on how each one of you was taught,” he said.  “You ought to go beyond individual mindsets and look at what is worth for the Rwanda we want. There are national aspirations, regional and international best practices to guide you in this exercise,” he added.

He reminded those present that Rwanda is a member of the East African Community so the curriculum framework of these countries, as well as UNESCO recommendations should guide the group as they work toward the development of the syllabi.   He added that the content must also be comparable to international standards.

Dr. John Rutayisiye, the director general of Rwanda Education Board, said that the current syllabi were very much focused on reconstruction following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.  Now, he added, is a time to center on more practical skills.

The new curriculum should be ready in 2016, and will be adopted by 2018.  Educators said that Rwandan education had too long been theoretical leaving learners with few practical skills.  They are hopeful that the new curriculum will contain hands-on experiments and that there will be funding for necessary equipment.

Ben Gasore, reporting for All Africa, writes that MTN, Africa’s leading telecommunication network, during its “21 Days of Y’ello Care” will be focusing on digital educations.  Calling their effort “Investing in Education for All”, employees are setting up child development facilities in schools, training teachers and other learners in information communication technology (ICT) and establishing digital content for university libraries.

MTN Rwanda chief executive officer, Ebenezer Asante, says his firm will provide the infrastructure for cloud computing and visualization training to universities in order to promote digitization in learning.  This program was instituted in 2007 in order to give MTN’s employees  an opportunity to improve the welfare of communities.

Last year, the UK and the Rwandan governments joined together in a three-year project to assess new innovations to improve the quality of education in Rwanda.  This resulted in 26 projects that qualified for funding and, as of now, it looks like the collaboration is paying off.  Grace Mugoya writing for All Africa, says that the the project has a budget of £12 million ($20.5 million), with each project getting between £50,000-800,000.

Those innovations that are successful will later, ideally, be used to contribute to education development.  Project coordinator, Marc Van der Stouwe, said:

“Like any other new innovations in any sector, there are always challenges such as resistance. But given the current stand, we are optimistic these projects will serve a purpose.”

He continued by adding that monitoring and evaluation would have to be in place in order for the innovations to be successful.  The main areas addressed by the projects are overcoming educational challenges and promoting ICT in education.