By Elias Hakizimana.
As the world education model is looking for quality contents and curriculum to shape the future generation into decent teachers, leaders and scientists, young generation of today is running away teaching profession.
To bridge this gap, some education activists in Rwanda are looking for strategies to revive the love of this profession among high school graduates.
In this regard, a new partnership between Inspire Empower and Educate (IEE) and the Mastercard Foundation to provide opportunities for young women aspiring to be teachers through Teaching Assistantship Project (TAP) was launched on May 31st, 2019 in Kigali.
Emmanuel Murenzi, the country director of IEE said that the one-year pilot phase of this programme matches 150 talented female high school graduates with teaching assistantships, providing support to students in a range of subjects including Mathematics and Sciences.
Murenzi said that this pilot project will focus on competence based curriculum where best performing girls who graduated in sciences from high schools last year 2018 are assisting teachers in 73 host high schools of Rwanda mainly in 15 districts including Musanze, Gakenke, Rulindo, Rusizi, Burera, Karongi, Muhanga, Ruhango, Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Kicukiro, Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Bugesera.
“The main goal is to show them that every child can learn and teach sciences. For this pilot programme, we train them and show them basic needs in teaching their colleagues,” Murenzi said.
The project is also under Mastercard Foundation Leaders in Teaching initiative that transforms teaching and learning in secondary education across Africa, equipping young people with the skills and competencies they need to succeed in work and life.
It supports both new and experienced teachers, and school leaders to develop the skills they need to deliver high-quality secondary school education.
The young women participating in the pilot will be mentored and develop independent learning and knowledge sharing skills, as well as benefit from increased confidence as they collaborate with teachers in the classroom.
Murenzi said that gaining first hand insight and knowledge about how to deliver a school curriculum will facilitate the teaching assistant’s transition to tertiary education, especially if they choose teaching as a career.
“This is a great opportunity to develop female teachers, especially those teaching science and Mathematics. It will ease the workload of teachers and lead to better overall performance by the learners,” Murenzi said, adding that even if they don’t join the teaching profession, they will be strong advocates for it because they will know the challenges teachers face.
Do young scientist girls need to be teachers?
Brandine Ineza, 19, is among 150 high school graduates who are teaching other children in High school. She did Physics, Chemistry and Biology and graduated in 2018 at Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare in Southern province, Huye District.
She is assisting scienceteachers at Groupe Scolaire Kicukiro. She said her perception about teaching as a profession is that being a teacher does not necessarily require being in class.
“I cannot say I have a teaching dream; I am now assisting teacher and I can encourage others to love teaching profession. What I am doing now can even help me in other disciplines apart from teaching,” Ineza said.
Ange Lisa Ishimwe, 19, another high school graduate who is also assisting teachers in science courses under IEE programme said that she had the mindset that teaching profession is the worst as teachers earn the lowest salary.
“During this training and practices I am doing, I proved that it is a good profession. When you are sharing what you have, you are contributing to the community development,” she said.
Teachers from the host schools where these girls are assisting said the initiative helped them to bridge the gap in advancing the lessons.
“This is the second week we have these girls as assistant teachers, our observation is that they became a response as we had a few number of teachers and now they help us. They gave us two girls and we recommend to also bring boys next time for gender sensitivity,” said Swaleh Mayanja, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Murambi in Rulindo District, Northern Province.
Marie Assoumpta Kayirangwa, an expert in high school education for a couple of years is among the mentors of these girls where they are assisting teachers. She told The Inspirer that they have become good teachers in few days ago.
“Our government needs teachers to boost quality of education and we believe children will change the mindset and value teaching profession. There is no doubt that in six months we can have some of these children becoming teachers,” Kayirangwa noted.
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