Consumables are materials needed to allow students’ practical learning.
“We had requested 5.3 billion and only 1.4 billion is available,” officials from the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) said on Tuesday during the 2019/2020 financial year budget hearing before the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.
Dr. James Gashumba, Rwanda Polytechnic Vice Chancellor, said teaching TVET courses needs equipment adding that the money they had requested was “just enough to keep us going.”
The available funds will be spent on training materials for 120 public TVET schools and eight Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres (IPRCs), he indicated.
“For instance, a student in masonry needs cement. There are places we go and find them using mud. You cannot build skills of a carpenter by theoretical knowledge alone, because they have to make furniture using timber,” he said.
Currently, about 46 percent of students are enrolled in TVET schools.
He said TVET has proven to be a key driver to economic growth based on the experience of developed countries.
MP Jean René Niyorurema said schools teaching chemistry related courses exposed an issue of lack or expensiveness of consumables needed to carry out experiments or acquire practical skills.
“What strategies does the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) have to help those schools so that the quality of education does not get impaired,” he asked.
MP Benoit Senani said that there is a need to put more efforts in TVET so that students receive hands-on training that equip them with skills matching the market demand.
Appeal for preferential treatment in public tenders
Gashumba said that TVET institutions have the capacity to build classrooms, make desks and tables used in schools, among other things, but voiced concern over bidding requirements by the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) which they have difficulties meeting.
Commenting on the issue, MP Omar Munyaneza, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, suggested that plans should be made to allow equipment that are used in schools, such as desks are made by students from TVET.
He added that IPRCs can have garages to repair vehicles which can be an avenue for income generation and learning on the job.
The Minister of Education Eugene Mutimura, requested parliamentarians to advocate Rwanda Polytechnic and IPRCs so that they get special contract to be able to make desks, build classrooms and other works.
“They need a contract framework by which they should not compete with other entities on the market because they do not have capital investment for them to win tenders through competition,” Minister Mutimura said.
“Once they get it, it can help us address the issue of consumables and improve quality education and teaching,” the Minister observed.
Source: The New Times
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