By Elias Hakizimana.
Many secondary school scientist leavers are not used to learning Education as they join University Institutions. They prefer to expand their knowledge in other disciplines such as medical doctors and Researchers, which limit knowledge transfer to the young generation.
To bridge this gap, a local education stakeholder ‘Inspire Educate and Empower’ (IEE)-Rwanda has been running a six-month teaching assistantship project in partnership with Rwanda Education Board under the support of MasterCard Foundation.
This project that used 150 best young girls who performed well in science courses from Fawe Girls School has seen tremendous achievements where they helped teachers in 73 schools in 15 districts of Rwanda as Teaching Assistants and some of them ended up by deciding to learn Education in University.
Winny Mutoni is among the beneficiaries of this project. She said she could not understand how a scientist can become a teacher, but the project made her to embrace and love teaching as a profession.
“IEE inspired us and we love teaching and education; and myself decided to be a teacher.” She said.
Mutoni has studied Biology Chemistry and Geography in secondary school (BCG). “I want to learn Biology and Sport at University and become a teacher later,” she noted.
She revealed that a secret to teach is to feel it as a passion and be friendly with students.
Clementine Niyonteze, her classmate said “Icould not understand how I can stand in front of students and teach them,”
Niyonteze used to teach senior two students in the beginning and she also taught ones in Senior six of MPG.
“It is an opportunity to pass through this project. We can even help others on proper teaching assistantship.” She said.
Emmanuel Murenzi, IEE Country Director said that the teaching assistantship project is to respond to government’s shortage of teachers. He said that the government will contribute 50 percent of University school fees to some students who will prefer to continue with Education.
“We are discussing with REB and University of Rwanda on how to facilitate students who need to follow on teaching.” He said.
The pilot phase of this project focused on girls only, but the second one will also motivate boys.
“In our future programming we will encourage boys to be part of this project and we are looking on how to expand it during the phase II.”Murenzi said.
Murenzi said that some challenges experienced in the project are other teachers’ mindset as they could not think of the role of this initiative.
Angelique Tusiime, Deputy Director General of REB said that they were happy for the initiative as it is in line with promoting quality education that is expected from skilled teachers.
“The new curriculum policy needs best performing teachers. Under this IEE project, students performed well and among them some chose to join Education. These are ones who performed in sciences and they played a vital role in teaching and improved the way students learn,” she said.
She said that the project is a partnership initiative supported by the Government of Rwanda and the first phase was to encourage girls to love science as they are still few in Science and Teaching.
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