18.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

UNESCO Trains Primary and Secondary Teachers on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Rwanda

Primary teacher participants in Nyanza, Rwanda engage with and discuss the new CSE curriculum at a teacher learning centre to become familiarized with the content and pedagogical approach, Copyright UNESCO 2016

Nyanza, Rwanda, October 2016 - Following the successful launch of Rwanda’s competence-based curriculum in April 2015, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) through the Rwanda Education Board (REB) with the support of UNESCO, UNFPA and UNAIDS embarked on a teacher training plan geared towards equipping both teachers and education sector stakeholders with the main features of the new curriculum as well as the requirements needed to establish learner-centred teaching methodologies. REB has introduced a total of eight cross-cutting topics within this new curriculum, among them Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), which is integrated in five subjects: two in primary education, Science and Elementary Technology (SET), and Social and Religious Studies; and three in secondary education including Biology and Health Sciences, General Studies and Communication Skills, and History and Citizenship. To ensure CSE content, materials and tools would be effective and aligned to the needs of the new competence-based curriculum, REB organized orientation sessions prior to design and development that targeted curriculum designers and district subject leaders.

Before scaling up, 30 master trainers from REB were initially trained in CSE and have been central in conducting subsequent trainings for both primary and secondary teachers across the country. Phase One targeted Deans of Studies for 9-year and 12-year basic education including secondary boarding schools. During this phase master trainers, with technical support from UNESCO, UNFPA and UNAIDS trained 1327 secondary teachers on the relevant components of the CSE curriculum. More recently Phase Two of the training targeted an additional 2020 upper primary teachers from 2020 schools (i.e. one per school), who teach SET and Social and Religious Studies from across all primary schools in Rwanda. Both phases of the training were completed over three cycles and had a duration of three-days.

In general feedback was overall positive, yet it was observed that since CSE is still a new concept in the Rwandan curriculum, there is need for ongoing technical guidance, mentorship and supervision of teachers; moreover training for school inspectors is required to ensure there are mechanisms in place to ensure effective monitoring at the district level. One theme that emerged frequently during the training was early pregnancy and concerns about girls’ dropout. One teacher stated, “this programme [is important as it] empowers teachers with the capacity to encourage and develop community values that girls need to remain in school and/ or re-enter to complete their education.”

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