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Given the remarkable success of the 9-year basic education pro­gram, the government is now seeking to extend it to 12 years. This was also one of the cam­paign pledges made by Presi­dent Kagame in the 2010 elec­tions.

school boys

On the roadto 12 years of education. (file photo)

“Students who have passed senior three exams will now get automatically enrolled into senior 4,” explained the Min­ister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Math­ias Harebamungu, adding that classes will commence in Feb­ruary. “The implementation of the program is for 88% com­plete.”

He clarified that there are currently 77,602 students in se­nior 3, and of those who have passed the exams 54% will be enrolled in general education, 5% in Teaching Training Cen­ters (TTCs) and 41% in techni­cal and vocational training and education (TVET).

The 9-year basic education was sometimes hampered by the lack of classrooms, which led to the double use of the available rooms in morning and afternoon sessions for dif­ferent groups. This time, ac­cording to Harebamungu, the problem has been anticipated, and classroom construction is for 90% finished. He said only finishing touches remain, such as the construction of water tanks or the installation of di­dactic equipment. The schools will also be equipped with bio­gas systems.

Another problem experi­enced in the 9-year program was the inequality between schools when it comes to sci­ence laboratories – leading to complaints that some students were disadvantaged at practi­cal exams. However, the Min­ister said this has been solved by replacing big expensive labs with individual student kits which will contain all equip­ment necessary for the national curriculum.

In addition, all schools will have at least one room re­served for a library. Some two million books have already been dispatched to the Tronc Commun level (O level) in­cluding mathematics, English, physics, chemistry, and com­puter science. And another 314,800 books were also dis­tributed for senior 4 levels.

Kenyan mentors

The new program will ob­viously require an increased number of teachers, and Hare­bamungu announced that 2878 new teachers have been recruited for all levels con­founded, while 244 new ones have been assigned to TVET. As far as the English program for teachers is concerned, he ex­plained that the government has agreed with the Kenyan Teaching Service Commission to bring some 2500 English teachers to Rwanda.

“We have established a pro­gram called ‘School-Based Mentoring’ where we want to improve teachers’ fluency in English, and the Kenyans who will begin working in February will each be assigned to a spe­cific school to help their Rwan­dan colleagues to improve their level of speaking and teaching in English,” the Minister ex­plained. “The budget amounts to Frw 4.5 billion, and remu­neration has been agreed upon with the Kenyan Teaching Ser­vice Commission; so there will be no complaints.”

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