07.11.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Strengthening capacities of teachers and school leaders on inclusive education in Rwanda

Workshop for Rwanda’s 30 District Directors of Education to train participants on inclusive and innovative teaching methodologies and a roll-out and monitoring plan, September, Kigali, Copyright UNESCO 2017.

September 2017, Kigali, Rwanda – The Rwanda Education Board (REB), in collaboration with UNESCO and the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) and support from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), conducted two training sessions on inclusive education. The first included Directors of Education (DDE) from Rwanda’s 30 districts on REB’s new model of inclusive education for primary and secondary education, while the second included head teachers as part of a pilot training to test the new curriculum on inclusive education for the University of Rwanda, College of Education’s (URCE) Diploma programme on School Leadership and Management. These models of inclusive education will be rolled out nationally in 2018.

Rwanda’s 2013/14-2017/18 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) emphasizes the need for a more innovative approach to inclusive education to improve enrolment, progression, transition and completion rates of the most vulnerable populations, if targets are to be achieved. Moreover, the new competence-based curriculum calls for the use of new learner and child-friendly centred approaches for effective teaching and learning, with inclusive education as a cross cutting orientation. Consistent with this overarching framework, in 2016, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) has updated its policy, as well as developed a strategic plan and a teachers’ guide on inclusive and special needs education. Inclusive education however remains a new concept in Rwanda and many teachers lack the basic knowledge and skills to implement it in the classroom.

To support MINEDUC’s sector priority on inclusive education, the Rwanda Education Board (REB), in partnership with UNESCO, already conducted two phases of a pilot training exercise in Nkakarambi from November 2016 to June 2017 on inclusive education targeting twenty teachers to become Master Trainers. They were provided with practical skills—in particular activities and tools they can employ in their classrooms. Master Trainers cascaded the training to other teachers in their respective schools to test the methodology, reaching out to a total of 708 teachers. A manual for teachers, including practical tools and classroom activities, was also developed prior to training so that Master Trainers could test it in schools and generate useful feedback.

As a follow-up, the two-day event for Rwanda’s 30 District Directors of Education (DDEs) in September had the objectives to train participants on inclusive education theory and methodology and build awareness of the new REB model and associated Toolkit of Practical Classroom Activities. It also had the objective of consulting DDEs on a proposed roll-out plan for nation-wide scaling up, as well to inform them of the means to monitor and evaluate implementation. After the training, DDEs had acquired a practical understanding of how to implement inclusive education in schools and knowledge and tools to oversee implementation and evaluate progress.

In addition to training primary and secondary classroom teachers, REB and the University of Rwanda College of Education (URCE) have recognized the need for school leaders to also gain further understanding and sensitivity on inclusive education especially since they play a fundamental role in ensuring their schools are inclusive, that teachers teach inclusively, and if not that they can mentor these skills to teaching staff. URCE’s Diploma Programme on School Leadership and Management is supported by VVOB on a wide variety of knowledge and skills; meanwhile UNESCO is collaborating with REB and VVOB to support the inclusion of case studies and materials on inclusive education specifically designed for school leaders. The Diploma is organized into five separate modules based on standards needed to be a school leader and include: i) Setting Strategic Direction, ii) Leading Learning, iii) Leading Teaching, iv) Management of the School as an Organization, and v) Community and Parental Involvement. Each of the five case studies includes the following: (a) A narrative that outlines an effective and inspiring, relevant practice that is related to the module; (b) A practical activity that will enable Head Teachers to lead by example and be positive role models; each activity will be developed in a way to promote critical thinking for active learning; and (c) A set of questions for discussion and reflection.

In a separate three-day workshop, co-organized with VVOB, UNESCO piloted these case studies with twenty head teachers from across Rwanda. This was an opportunity to test the materials and refine them before they are formally adopted and included into the Programme’s curriculum to train head teachers enrolling in the URCE 2018 cohort.

These activities are implemented within the partnership between UNESCO and the Ministry of Education on ´Strengthening quality teaching and learning for Education for all in Eastern Africa’, funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). They aim at strengthening capacities in planning, managing and monitoring teacher education. In this regard, the status of the teacher education system has also been assessed and a National Teacher Development Framework on pre-service/in-service training has been developed.

To read the article on the United Nations System in Rwanda Newsletter, click here.


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