Rwanda: Teachers welcome new technology-based methodology in public primary schools
Principals and primary school teachers, who take the introductory training in technological education and pedagogical techniques for better engagement in the classroom, testified that the skills acquired will improve the quality and relevance of learning. in public primary schools.
The training is facilitated by the Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) through the Rwandan government initiative Rwanda Education Quality Improvement Program (RwandaEQUIP).
RwandaEQUIP is a program designed to improve teaching and learning in primary schools, where every student receives the effective, equitable and engaging education they need to reach their unique full potential. The initiative, now in its second year, aims to improve student learning outcomes by empowering teachers in more than 750 government and government-subsidized schools by 2024.
“The transformation of the primary education system enabled by technology is a critical part of realizing Rwanda’s Vision 2050 to become a knowledge-based economy,” said Hon. Gaspard Twagirayezu, the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education during his visit to the thousands of trainees.
He recognized the commitment of school leaders and teachers to work together to improve the quality of education for all learners. He asked them to become champions of this technology-enabled learning that will accelerate learning so that Rwandans are equipped with the right skills to compete globally by 2050.
How it works
According to Marie Merci Twiringiyimana, a RwandaEQUIP trainer, school leaders are equipped with the skills, resources and technology to endorse efficiency, productivity and decision-making in their schools.
“We showed them how they can use technology to help teachers effectively deliver lesson guides while transforming teaching in their classroom.”
School leaders receive a smart phone with apps that provide digital information about what’s going on in each classroom; real-time attendance, course delivery and learning outcomes.
Teachers are also equipped with instructional guides and classroom management techniques that stimulate student engagement and creativity. These tablets for teachers contain well-researched and carefully designed daily lesson guides built around the Rwandan curriculum.
Teacher’s guides help teachers overcome the challenges they faced when designing their lesson plans. Teachers can focus more on teaching than planning and also deliver lessons in a consistent, easy-to-understand format.
“However, teachers can only access detailed teacher guides when they are in school. They are required to sync their teacher guides to the headteacher’s smart device where they mark daily arrival and departure After signing in to the school, the school principal activates the hotspot and shares the internet with the teachers so that they can access and download the lesson guides » , she said.
Josephine Mukashyaka, the headmaster of GS Uwinkomo in Nyamagabe district, who is among the trainees, said: “Previously, teachers had to sign books to mark attendance – arrival and departure – but some were jumping and others could be absent in classrooms. I can also see when students start and finish their lessons, which helps me track their progress,” she said.
Teacher reactions to the new teaching methodology
Emmanuel Ngiruwonsanga, a teacher at Uwinkingi Primary School in Nyamagabe district, is among the teachers who have been trained and given tablets to improve teaching and classroom management.
“I have been teaching for 32 years. We spent a lot of time preparing lesson plans and writing notes in many exercise books. Sometimes it was difficult to access certain teaching materials and it affected our performance.
“However, this will change after the teachers’ tablets are obtained. These tablets contain well-developed lesson plans and teaching materials, and we will have more time to support students and give time to those who are struggling” , did he declare.
Chantal Mukanoheri, a teacher at Kiziguro Catholic Primary School in Ngororero District, praised the training program saying that the technology will facilitate the work of teachers and improve the performance of teachers and learners.
“Preparing lesson plans and teaching took a lot of our time. We spent a lot of time looking for teaching materials and sometimes we didn’t get them.
“As a result, we didn’t have enough time to engage students and complete the curriculum. Now tablets with lesson plans and teaching aids will guide us on what to teach on time. It will improve the quality of education,” she said. .
She added that technology-enabled teaching will also improve the English skills of teachers and learners.
“The teaching technique emphasizes teaching in English. We have also learned English songs, cheers, spurts that we will use to motivate students and encourage positive behavior in the classrooms,” she noted.
Vestine Uwimana, a teacher at Rushaki Primary School in Gicumbi district, said the main challenge she faced before the training was the lack of time to prepare notes, assessments, quizzes and teach at the same time. .
“The tablet will reduce the time we spend filing numerous educational documents while marking the presence of teachers and students in class, and will devote it to improving the performance of learners,” she said.
In addition, we learned how to encourage positive behavior and correct student behavior.
Alex Nsengimana, a teacher from Nyamagabe district, said the technology-based teaching methodology will also improve students’ confidence and speaking skills.
“A student would reach sixth grade without the ability to speak and read effectively. The technology-based teaching methodology we were trained on came as a solution and, if possible, should be extended to more schools “, did he declare.
According to Gerard Murasira, director of teacher training at the Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB), 4,500 school leaders and teachers from 150 public primary schools are being trained on technology-assisted teaching and effective classroom management in the August 23 to September 23, 2022. The previous training was conducted in January 2022 for 3000 teachers in 100 schools.
Global Call for Transformative Education
Teacher training is taking place at a time when governments are currently looking for evidence-based solutions that will boost learning to recover from the unprecedented learning losses linked to the Covid-19 pandemic due to school closures. At the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, Heads of State reaffirmed the role of governments in strengthening education systems to ensure accessible, affordable, high quality and inclusive education for all . Next week, government leaders from around the world will gather at the United Nations Education Transformation Summit in New York to take stock of efforts to recover learning losses related to the pandemic.
The holistic and highly structured education methodology on which teachers are trained through RwandaEQUIP has been endorsed by a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor Michael Kremer. The study conducted in East African schools by the Nobel laureate confirmed that the learning gains of the study are among the largest in the international literature on education.
The study suggests that children receive 53% more learning during their careers in early childhood and elementary school compared to their peers taught using traditional methods.
The study finds that after two years, students in primary education, up to grade 6, are almost an additional year ahead of students taught using traditional methods. For Early Childhood Development (ECD) – typically 3-5 year olds gain almost an extra year and a half of learning; learn in two years what students in other schools learn in three and a half years.
Rwanda is using the methodology of this study to improve teaching and learning across RwandaEQUIP and hopes to see the same results across the country.