After 6 months of meeting together, planning and writing training materials the 18 members of the 2010 HOPE: Rwanda Education team left Australia for Kigali, Rwanda on July 2nd with great expectation and a desire to serve and support teachers and educational leaders in Rwanda.
"We are committed to bringing training that is strategic and and genuinely makes a difference to the education sector in Rwanda," Michelle Shaw the HOPE: Rwanda Education Team Leader, stated before leaving with the team.
Bringing a quality education to all of Rwanda's children is a huge challenge, Rwanda has 40,000 teachers struggling to teach over 2 and a half million children with an average class size of over 60. There are 1.2 million orphans and over 100,000 child-headed households. Currently English is being introduced as the language of instruction across the nation and Information Technology (IT) is being incorporated into education programs. Whilst optimistic about the future, Rwandan teachers and education leaders are feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
Pictured: Teachers with training materials
The HOPE: Rwanda Education Project has been working with the Rwandan Ministry of Education to ask the question, "How can we best help teachers in Rwanda?" HOPE: Rwanda Education focuses on human capacity development in the field of education and has been communication regularly with the Rwandan Government to ascertain what types of training in which sectors of education will most help the country meet its education targets.
This visit, the HOPE: Rwanda Education team was involved in 4 major training projects whilst in Rwanda. The team of 18 broke into smaller teams to run conferences and training programs across Rwandan government and private sectors.
One group ran a 4-day conference for the Ministry of Education District and Regional Inspectors (some of whom each supervise over 900 schools in Rwanda) and heads of Teacher Training Colleges. The training was on student centred English and Special Needs Education, as well as the use of information technology (IT) in the education sector. It really was an amazing time with the resolution and recommendations from the conference delegates to immediately work to incorporate the conference content into teacher practice across all Rwandan schools.
A second group worked in the Rwandan Ministry of Education building in Kigali to assist in writing the English training modules which will be used with all 40,000 teachers in November of this year. In total they wrote 11 modules which represents over 100 hours of teacher training in English.
Pictured: Writing modules at the Ministry of Education
Another group worked to upskill preschool teachers in the private education sector. Currently there is no accredited preschool teacher training in Rwanda and there is an overwhelming need in every Rwandan village for preschool care as women enter the workforce. The group took a small film crew to record the training to produce a quality Rwanda-relevant teacher development resource.
The fourth group worked with the university lecturers at Kigali Institute of Education, who are responsible for preparing Rwanda's future secondary teachers. A week of training in IT skills and applications in education was carried out with resounding success.
Overall the trip was an amazing and rewarding experiance for the HOPE: Rwanda Education team members and achieved more than was even dreamed in terms of supporting education in Rwanda - not to mention the heart to heart connection between newfound friends in both countries. The HOPE team members were amazing and gave their all and are already dreaming of when they can return.
From the Conference Evaluation Forms from the Kigali Institute of Education - Lecturer ICT Training 2010 by HOPE Rwanda Education:
"The best part was the mood and the methodology of trainers." - Pierre U.
"I learned that ICT is important in teaching and it is useless fearing it. It was a very useful exercise and served as an eye-opener. The trainers were extreemly helpful and i look forward to meeting them again next year." - Joy M.
"The improvements could be added training in programs like: Excel, Publisher, Movie Maker, etc in order to equip teachers with complete usage of new technology." - Justin N.
"I liked the practical nature of the course." - Modest B.
"I learned how to use Powerpoint. I am now capable of writing my own presentations for my classes." - Anthony K.
"I am going to use the online materials in the office and insert new technologies, this will help me be more professional in my presentations to the faculty." - Hyaciuthe M.
"I will put into practice the continuous use of ICT in making seminars and presentations. I will discuss topics with learners." - Bulus A.
"Although the time was short to learn everything at least now I know what I want. I will pursue the ICT vision in the direction I was introduced to." - Eugene R.
From the Conference Evaluation Forms from the District Inspectors Training:
"I congratulate all the teachers for their knowledge and methodology. They are the best." - Celestin B.
"It would have been good if primary school teachers and headteachers were participating in this conference." - Gerard B.
"I learned how to involve students in lessons by doing group work and using different teaching aids." - Jean N.
"The best part was learning the 'learner-centered' way of teaching." - Melchior T.
"The period of 4 days was not enough. A conference like this is very helpful to all teachers." - Emmanuel Z.
"The conference has been fruitful to our daily duties and we expect another to sharpen our performance in a related field." - Vianney N.
"I learned how to identify students with special needs, the conference was so good." - Innocent N.