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Friday, September 28, 2012

No transcripts for RTUC students

Some graduates from Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) have expressed frustration at their inability to get jobs due to lack of transcripts. 

They said their inability to obtain transcripts soon after completing their courses was making it difficult for them to apply for jobs.

“It has been a challenge to convince some employers without our transcripts,” said John Mugarura, who completed last year in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Another person who graduated in Travel and Tourism Management, Marie Redempta Uwimbabazi, said that without transcripts, they cannot even pursue further studies.

However, when contacted, the RTUC Rector, Callixte Kabera, explained that having been finally accredited by the Ministry of Education, their maiden graduation was planned for December after which students will get their transcripts.

This year’s graduation had 62 percent females 

RTUC started offering the degree programme in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Travel and Tourism Management in 2008 and has graduated 346 students. 

“With this graduation, we shall be recognized and therefore be in a position to work with others to professionally promote or contribute to improving customer care, which is one of  the key challenges affecting the tourism or hospitality industry,” Uwimbabazi said.

Other students who spoke to The New Times noted that in addition to government support and initiatives that are being put in place to fight poor service delivery, employers should consider employing professional labour.

“It is no longer a secret that some business people, especially in restaurants, bars and hotels, are employing relatives or friends. It should be based on skills or qualifications, otherwise, good customer care will not come on a silver plate,” said another student.

Source: The New Times

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Call for research in education overhaul

The call was made during the "Research and Publication" workshop organized by Kigali Institute of Education. The bottom line was the launch of Rwanda Journal of Education (RJE), a compilation of a range of research based articles that mainly cover the sector of education and other related aspects.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Rector Academic, Prof. Wenceslas Nzabalirwa commended the Institute for the initiative as well as the editorial team who contributed for the journal to be a masterpiece. He went on to say that the inauguration of the journal reflects the inevitable KIE input towards the development of Education sector as one of the key hubs of the country’s educational services.

"The Education sector and the country at large have been looking forward to this important contribution to education development," observed Nzabalirwa. He added that Rwanda Journal of Education, being a forum for discussion of new and original ideas in education, will seek to highlight some of the major crosscutting issues in education namely; gender, language in education, ICT, Curriculum matters, special educational needs and inclusion, to mention few.

Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Evariste Karangwa, who is the Journal’s Chief Editor emphasized on the production of original ideas which are not subject to any plagiarism. He added that the journal will be addressing to the wider community which in turn will be an opportunity for critical thinkers to come up with new ideas about education in Rwanda. On behalf of the Editorial Board, Karangwa also hailed the work done by people who in a way or another contributed for the realization of the journal.

"The Editorial Board owes special appreciation to the KIE academic staff as well as other contributors in the education profession and academia whose manuscripts have led to the initiation of RJE" noted Karangwa. He then urged scholars to contribute to Rwanda Journal of Education by bringing new concepts to the critical readers and reading all guidelines underpinning the research and publication available on KIE website.

In the course of the workshop, different articles covered in the Journal were discussed and challenges pertaining to research were elaborated. Rwanda Journal of Education is destined for international accreditation and standards. It envisions a combination of online and print formats with a much wider and international contributions, as a means of rendering its publications more interactive and beneficial to a wider range of critical readers and competitive contributors.

Source: NUR

ULK launches Master’s programmes

Kigali Independent University (ULK) on Monday started offering several masters programmes. 

The Higher Education Council recently accredited the university to offer nine masters programmes.

The programmes include; Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business in Finance (MFIN), Master of Accounting (MAcc) and Master of Science in Economics (MSc).

Others include; Master of Governance (MGov), Master of Development Studies (MDS), Master of Laws in Public International Law (LLM/PIL), Master of International Economics and Business Law (LLM/IEL) and Master of Science in Internet System (MSI).

The university founder, Prof. Rwigamba Balinda, said that the focus is to enable students to compete favourably on the job market. 

“In addition to existing programmes, we are going to give free lessons in English and ICT to the students,” 

The Rector, Dr Ezekiel Sekibibi, said that the university was able to come up with the programmes after various consultations with various stakeholders.

Source: The New Times

Revamping educational system (Part 1)

Albert Einstein once described insanity as ‘doing same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Similarly, education in Africa has had little transformational effect to the continent because largely it remains irrelevant to the development needs of the continent and nothing much is being done to align education programmes towards the development needs of the continent.
Our curriculum today still remains what it was five decades ago! In short, for the past fifty years of post independence Africa our education system has remained more less the same what it was during the colonial days. 

The western incursion into Africa brought with it a repudiation of everything original to the African continent. The African way of doing things are always regarded as backward, unscientific and barbaric. 

Indigenous African knowledge is regarded as baseless and summarily dismissed as superstition. Such mentality could be traced from colonial era. Be that as it may the African governments that followed did little or nothing to change the status quo to value and restore African heritage and confidence. 

For example, up to date, in schools we are still taught or we still teach that it’s the white explorers who discovered all great African physical features. 

Imagine teaching a Musoga child from Jinja in Uganda that it is John Hannington Speke who discovered the source of River Nile or that it’s Mungo Park who discovered Niger River in 1876! 

Indirectly, you are teaching this child that his great grand fathers who lived around these areas were blind and good for nothing lot who could not know there was a river within their vicinity!’... Ashamed of his lineage, the African child considers the Europeans heroic to have traveled thousands of miles to ‘discover’ a river just by the nose of his own people. 

He dreams of being like the Europeans, the great discoverers, and understandably loses any regard for his ‘ignorant’ people. 

The deep rooted inferiority complex leads him to dismiss whatever is African; cloth, food, culture, values, speech, technology and medicine as inadequate and in that same mindset, he rears his children’( Dr Chika Ezeanya, 2011). 

The fact that Education systems in African did little or nothing to transform the continent was compounded by the emphasis on qualifications with little regard to skills. 

Because the European colonial administrators wanted Africans whom they could use as administrative assistants, they taught basic clerical functions but not education to transform their lives! This is what translated into today’s white collar jobs and education system that produces job seekers not job creators. 

This mentality or approach has not been changed to this day! Our curriculum is heavily entrenched with a lot of theoretical subjects and our focus is on paper qualification than acquisition of skills. 

Although skills and qualifications may be used interchangeably, these two words may not necessarily have the same meaning. A skill may be defined as ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills”. 

On the other hand,  qualification is the capacity, knowledge, that matches or suits an occasion, or makes someone eligible for a duty, office, position, privilege, or status. Qualification denotes fitness for purpose through fulfillment of necessary conditions such as attainment of a certain age, taking of an oath, completion of required schooling or training, or acquisition of a degree or diploma. 

Qualification does not necessarily imply competence. Different dictionaries may give different definitions about skill and qualification, but what is apparent is that qualification does not mean competence! 

It is this thin but significant difference that our education system and the labour market today seem not to be paying attention to. On one hand, we have an education system that gives paper qualifications, and the labour market that demands such qualifications regardless of the skills. 

No wonder the minimum qualification for any job position in any organisation in Rwanda today is a degree. No matter where you got it from, including buying it from streets! Since having the paper qualification in a name of degree one is assured of a good job, no matter the skills, people have resorted to acquiring these degrees, no matter from where or how! 

Those who do not buy these degree certificates from the streets have joined the Candidat libre centers irrespective of their previous school levels. 

It’s not surprising that we have many primary leavers and secondary school drop outs that have joined universities! This is what some scholars have termed as “Financially generated degrees”. The fact that our education system emphasizes paper qualification with little regard to skills has made people to take short cuts. 

By Stephen Mugisha

Social movement on girls’ education

A countrywide social movement to gauge the limitations and extent to which parents are committed to ensuring that the girl child attains an education is underway.

The social movement is carried out by Plan International Rwanda through mobile road shows where community views regarding the limitations and proposed solutions are collected from the general public and documented in an upgraded database. The international NGO advocates for accessibility and retention of girl child education globally.

At the end of the social movement, the obtained results will be incorporated into an interactive map to be presented on the International Girl Child day slated for October  11, 2012.

The online interactive map feature uploading of community pledges as a visual way to demonstrate is the country’s commitment to reduce barriers to quality education for girls.

The official in charge of Gender at Plan International Rwanda, Katherine Nichol, said her organisation would identify areas Rwandan parents feel their daughters need support so as to curtail the drop out rate. 

“Once the barriers to girls’ quality education are known, relevant authorities can then make appropriate and adequate planning towards meeting these needs,” she said.

The organisation’s communication officer, Alice Rwema, said that the social movement is part of a four year campaign in all countries that Plan International operates in and focuses on reducing barriers to quality education for girls in a safe and secure environment as well as empowering them to become active citizens.

During one of the road shows, a parent from Musanze District, Alphonsine Murekatete noted that despite the abolition of school fees, unvarying poverty and social cultural factors among a section of village residents remain barriers to girls’ education.

“Initially, girls may be allowed to go to school but for any reasons, maintaining them there would be questionable, especially if it is at the expense of their brothers,” she pointed out.

She explained that under normal circumstances, in extremely poor families, the retention of girls in schools begins to decline faster than that of boys from the third grade.

Source: The New Times

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

School science competitions begin

Seven schools have gathered at Lycée De Kigali to participate in a scientific competitions organized by KOICA in collaboration with Rwanda Ministry of Education.

Secondary schools contests competed in a variety of subjects including Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Schools represented include LDK, IFAK, and FAWE girls’ school, Kagarama Secondary School, St Andre, Rugunga and LNDC.

Students were enabled to put into practice what they learnt in classes. Speaking to IGIHE, Ndangamira Theodore, a science teacher at LDK said the competitions enabled pupils to learn more about practical courses in science.
Nzamurambaho Laowl and Rugwiro Roger were among contestants from IFAK. They said that the practice will enable them to become future engineers. Hayan Lee representing KOICA says the winners of the completion will win different prizes including Laptops.

Two of the winners will have a chance to tour Korea. This is the second time of such competition.The first competitions brought together schools of ESC Musanze in Northern province of Rwanda, GSO Butare in southern province and both G.S Kabare and TTC Rubengera in Eastern province. 481 pupils from 34 schools participated having rebounded from 20 schools of last year competition.

Source: Igihe

Use English confidently, teacher told

Teachers have been encouraged to intensively use English and improve their confidence in its application in their daily activities.

This was noted by Dr.John Rutayisire, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board, who called upon teachers to put more effort in the use of English language.

In line with the government policy of empowering its personels with capacity building, about 500 English based mentors have been posted in different public schools to train teachers in the use of English in and outside of the classrooms and even in the school environs.

However, it is reported that these mentors are not respected where they have been appointed as English mentors.

In an interview with IGIHE, Dr. Rutayisire urged school leaders and vice mayors in charge of Education in Districts to be responsible for the ongoing program and ensure its progress.

He added that schools should establish internal regulations and mechanisms which give value to English language. Dr. Rutayisire encouraged teachers to be self confident while conducting lessons and feel that no one will laugh at them when using English.

Mr. Kamugisha J. Marc is a school based mentor at G S Kinyinya.
He says some teachers are reluctant to use English, However, he is expecting teachers to be equipped with necessary skills in English if they are to follow this program effectively.

Source: Igihe

Time to stop avoiding grammar rules

The evidence is now in: the explicit teaching of grammar rules leads to better learning
The straightforward, pre-planned teaching of grammar in English language teaching has been under attack for years. Various alternatives have been proposed: to expose learners to language that is just a bit more advanced than what they currently produce; to wait until a communicative situation demands a certain structure before introducing it; to let the grammar emerge naturally from vocabulary learning, or from the lived context of the classroom. Each approach has been defended with carefully structured arguments, and some approaches have been embraced enthusiastically by ministries of education around the world.
However, evidence trumps argument, and the evidence is now in. Rigorously conducted meta-analyses of a wide range of studies have shown that, within a generally communicative approach, explicit teaching of grammar rules leads to better learning and to unconscious knowledge, and this knowledge lasts over time.
This will not surprise the many teachers who have continued to teach grammar despite the tides of fashion. Behind classroom doors, the wisdom of the community of practitioners has often prevailed.
So why has there been so much resistance to the teaching of grammar rules?
There is a problem with English: it is a morphologically light language. It doesn't have many different verb endings, and its nouns only inflect for plural. If the language under discussion were Polish, with its three noun genders and seven cases, the idea that teaching grammar rules wasn't necessary would probably not even occur. It has been possible to get away with the idea that there is no need to teach grammar in English. Now, however, with the evidence piling up, this is no longer an option.
Some of the writers opposing explicit grammar teaching have confused a target end-state (near-native production) with how the learner reaches the target. For example, a large percentage of the language that a native speaker uses is composed of multi-word units or "chunks"; so, one argument goes, what we need to do is teach chunks, not grammar. Wrong. Learning vocabulary (including chunks) is very important. But the best estimate is that there are hundreds of thousands of chunks in English; learning enough of these to have an appropriate chunk to hand in a given situation is not a quick or trivial job. With much less time and effort, learners can acquire grammar for putting together comprehensible phrases and sentences that can serve them on the long journey towards more native-like proficiency.
Another problem is that most English language learning takes place in countries where English is not the predominant language: a foreign language situation. Much of the thinking leading to strictures against grammar teaching has taken place in countries where English is the predominant language: a second language situation. The enormous difference in exposure to the target language makes arguments based on exposure or emergence much less plausible in the foreign language situation.
Teachers see that few of their learners develop highly advanced proficiency. These teachers yearn to do better for their students, and researchers want to help them to do better. On the basis that teachers have been teaching grammar rules, and learners have not been reaching the desired proficiency, one conclusion is that teaching grammar rules is not working, and so other solutions must be sought. An alternative conclusion is that learning a language, especially in a low-exposure situation, is very difficult, and it may be the case that whatever teachers do, few learners will achieve high proficiency. The only way to find out whether improvements can be made is to look for evidence, like the evidence in the recent analyses.
There is a notion that pre-planned focus on a given grammar structure will not lead to effective learning, and that grammar should only be taught at the point when the need for a structure emerges during a task. Some of the problems this poses are obvious. In a class of 30, one learner's need might not correspond to another's. Few teachers are able to give a clear and reliable explanation of every grammar point that pops up. There is no guarantee that the needs that happen to emerge over the length of a language course will correspond to the structures that the learners will need in their subsequent use of that language. But in any case, it has been found that there is no difference in effectiveness between integrating grammar teaching into tasks and separating grammar teaching from tasks.
What does this imply for teaching? Teaching grammar explicitly is more effective than not teaching it, or than teaching it implicitly; that is now clear. What this implies is that the grammar in a course should be planned, to ensure coverage of the structures learners will need. Teachers cannot depend on a range of texts or a range of topics or a range of tasks to yield all the grammar in a course. Taking each class as it comes is not an option. A grammar syllabus is needed, along with the other syllabuses and word lists that structure a course.
This does not mean that grammar is the most important thing to teach: the title probably goes to vocabulary. But there is room, and need, for both vocabulary and grammar. Good teaching of good rules with good examples and good practice activities can mean that grammar teaching only takes the time it needs to take. And now it is clear that this grammar teaching works.
Dr Catherine Walter lectures in applied linguistics at the University of Oxford and is the co-author with Michael Swan of the Oxford English Grammar Course

Source: The Guardian

World top 100 universities - 2012

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has overtaken theUniversity of Cambridge to top the 2012 edition of the QS World University Rankings.
Cambridge slipped to second, ahead of Harvard in third, University College London (UCL), fourth, and Oxford, fifth.

QS rank institutions based on an overall score calculated using ratings for six criteria; academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty-to-student ratio, international proportion of faculty and international proportion of students. All scores are out of 100.
MIT was not ranked first in any of the six categories, but had four scores in the top 20. Cambridge and Oxford placed second for academic reputation and employer reputation respectively, with both beaten to first place by Harvard.
30 UK universities were ranked among the top 200 overall. Only the US, with 54, had more.
Despite representation high up the rankings, British universities were beaten by those of seven other countries in terms of the average score for academic reputation*.
Australian universities scored highest for this criterion, achieving an average of 92. 
UK institutions fared better for employer reputation, where their average score of 76.8 was second only to Australia's 86.4.
British universities also scored highly for citations per faculty, coming in fifth place with an average score of 60.6 out of 100. Citations from within the same university were not included in the calculation of scores for this category.
The widest ranges of scores were seen in the criteria of international faculty and students. Hong Kong and Switzerland placed first and second for their universities' average international faculty rating, scoring almost six times as high as Japan.
UK institutions placed, on average, fourth for international faculty and third for international students. China and Japan occupied the two lowest places in both instances.
Below are the top 100 universities according to QS' 2012 rankings, along with their positions for the four previous years.
Click here for more information on the definitions, weightings and calculations used by QS.
*All country rankings exclude countries with fewer than five institutions in the top 200.

Source: The Guardian

President Kagame's visit to MIT

President Paul Kagame visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The President who is on a working visit to the US to attend several functions including Rwanda Day and UN General Assembly, was given a tour of the MIT Media Lab, where designers, engineers, artists and scientists are conducting more than 350 projects, ranging from neuroengineering, to early education, to developing the city car of the future.

Rodrigo Arboleda, Chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), hosted President Kagame during his visit.

Rwanda is heavily involved with OLPC, a project that was born in the Media Lab, and has committed to deploying 100,000 laptops across the Rwanda. OLPC has created a major learning center in Rwanda which aims to meet the educational and learning needs of students in Rwanda and other countries in Africa. The tour also included a visit to the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, lead by Mitch Resnick, which is developing new technologies that engage people (especially children and teens) in creative learning experiences.

President Kagame also met several Rwandan students that currently attend MIT.

GSO-Butare marks 83rd anniversary

Hundreds of former and current students as well as teachers and well wishers on Sunday descended on Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare (GSOB) Indatwa n’inkesha, in Huye district to celebrate the school’s 83rd anniversary.

The school, one of the oldest in the country, was established in 1929 by the Brothers of Charity to train local individuals who later assisted the Belgian colonial administration.

Initially, the school known as Groupe Scolaire d’Astrida, enrolled students from Rwanda and Burundi, offering courses mainly in administration. Currently, the school teaches science-related subjects only.

Some of the high profile figures who attended the school include the Prince of Burundi, Louis Rwagasore and King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa of Rwanda.

Dr Venant Ntabomvura, who joined the school in 1939, gave a testimony of his life as a student.

He told the gathering that the school helped him-and others- to excel in life and called on current management and students to maintain its legacy of excellence.

“We should always strive to be excellent and competitive. That’s when we will be honouring the legacy of this school. It trained us to be the best of the best, so we must strive for that end,” he said.

On Sunday, the school awarded over 20 best students. Those recognised are the ones who scored over 80 percent in last term’s exams, according to Father Pierre Celestin Rwirangira, the school’s principal.

Rwirangira noted that the rewards were meant to encourage excellence and positive competition among students as a way of steering better performance.

Highlighting the school’s recent performance, he reaffirmed their commitment to offering quality education as a way of maintaining academic excellence.

“For the last three years, we have been the top in sciences nationwide”, he said. “Some of our students have even got scholarships to study abroad”, he added, citing the example of one Aline Umuhire Juru who is currently studying at Hendrix College in Arkansas, USA after winning a presidential scholarship as she emerged the best in sciences in the 2010 academic year.

“We remain committed to maintaining excellence both in academics and other areas, including sports and culture”, Rwirangira pledged.

“We will keep working hard and promoting quality education. We will also stay close to our students to listen to them because that is also important in shaping their minds and preparing them to be the best”.

Huye Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs,. Christine Niwemugeni, commended the school for its contribution in promoting quality education. and called on students and teachers to ensure the school remains on top.

“Let us maintain that commitment for a thousand years”, she pleaded.

Source: The New Times

Itorero to boost entrepreneurship

The holistic development ideology promoted by Itorero, which involves the empowerment of members through instilling them with entrepreneurial skills, targets to boost the country’s ambitions of attaining a middle income status by 2020. 

The “Itorero” is a Rwandan civic education instrument that promotes unity, hard work, self reliance and integrity based on cultural values and employs ancient learning methods. 

“Colonialism disregarded and replaced our learning methods; we are modifying and exploiting them to restore what we lost as a result. We teach people from all walks of life,” explained Thacienne Bampire, the mobilising and mentoring officer at Itorero.

“Besides promoting our values, we pass on skills depending on identified need of a particular group. We have trained over 240,000 people since our inception in 2007.” 

Bampire added that all local leaders and different cooperative groups have been trained and continue to be trained in business skills.

Under the programme, the youth are the primary target since they are available, teachable and have a longer life span in service than aging adults.

A beneficiary,  Silas Kamanzi, 36, who is a Rwamagana resident, was benefited from the training and started a firewood business.

Thereafter, he joined a savings and cooperative organisation, and as his business blossomed, he was able to cater for his family of eight.

“Using the skills from Itorero, I joined a cooperative and got a loan of Rwf50,000. I have a cow and my small piece of land that was previously redundant is now productive. We learnt to share fairly what we have,” Kamanzi testified.

The national chairman of the Itorero, Boniface Rucagu, said the ideology has restored the country to her original values.  

“We have a new language that implies oneness and identity of self-worth. We have trained multitudes and continue to do so. Right now, Kigali women are travelling to Nkumba in shifts. We train all categories of people in life skills and cultural values;” Rucagu stated. 

Itorero is a medium/ institution of learning which existed before formal education was introduced by colonialists.

It was revived in 2007 to re institute lost values and inculcates a business orientation in the day-to-day life of Rwandans. 

It works through existing frameworks of government which follows up trainees on training outcomes.

Source: The New Times

We need job creators – Harebamungu

The Ministry of Education (Mineduc) has declared that it will put more em­phasis on technical skills because these have a positive impact on people’s standards of living and livelihoods in general.
According to the state minister in charge of primary and second­ary education, Dr Mathias Hare­bamungu, students from both Technical Secondary Schools (TSS) and Vocational Training Centers (VCT), are usually a step ahead of others because they acquire hands-on trainings in technical and entrepreneurial skills, includ­ing construction and building, hospitality, automobile and elec­tricity technical services, hair care, dressmaking, plumbing, informa­tion technology and so on.
“Most of us think that having a PhD or Masters degree is what makes you a successful learned individual, No! At that level, one is a researcher, and we cannot all be researchers,” Dr Harebamungu told The Rwanda Focus during the launch of national practical exams recently.
“We have to diversify our knowledge and skills so that we can conveniently exploit our min­imum resources through creating more job opportunities. That’s where technical skills come in.”
He also said MINEDUC encour­ages technical skills because the graduates (mostly the youth) are taught how to depend on them­selves and immediately (after graduation) become productive, therefore helping a quick recovery from poverty.
“Technical skills significantly re­duce poverty. Eradicating poverty requires us to create (lower) jobs that offer much with short-time trainings. Those are like dress­making, hair care, automobile me­chanics among others,” stressed Dr Harebamungu.
He gave an example of hair sa­loons where men pay an average of Frw 1,000 for a hair cut and women about Frw 5,000.
“If a hairdresser is visited by about 10 male customers a day, that is an average of Frw 10,000. This Frw 10,000 is an amount on which one can base and improve his living standard. That amount if well managed can help one in­vest in a small business and grow wealthier, therefore contributing to the country’s development and poverty eradication.”
He also talked of the construc­tion industry, which is growing day to day in our country. “Look at the construction projects under­way in the country. Some of them are employing foreigners because we do not have yet a number of individuals trained in construc­tion and public works. Having people interested in those skills means having many Rwandans on those construction sites and as re­sult, living standards improving,” observes Harebamungu.
“A fact about technical skills is that they provide one with com­petence to become a job creator rather than cob seeker through entrepreneurial skills,” stated Dr Harebamungu. “That is why we want to have at least one techni­cal college and three TSSs in every district, and one VCT per sector. That will help us accelerate the in­creasing of the number of gradu­ates in technical fields.”
According to the Workforce for Development Authority’s Deputy Director General Irene Nsengi­yumva, today Rwanda has a total of 293 Vocational Training Cen­tres (VTC) and Technical Training Centers (TTC), and two techni­cal colleges (Kicukiro and Tumba technical colleges), with an esti­mated number of 16,000 gradu­ates from TSSs a year, 5,000 from VCTs and 600 from the two techni­cal colleges mentioned above.
“Normally six months after their graduation, 60 per cent of them are already working with differ­ent investors, and after year it’s hard for one find them not work­ing,” Nsengiyumva said.
The national skills audit con­ducted in 2009 revealed that the country is short of technicians (lacks qualified technical work­force) in the public, private, and non-profit sectors by 60 per cent. “We are trying through TSSs, VCTs and Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centers (IPRCs) to find a strategic response to the needs for skills development. But we are not yet there,” observed WDA’s DDG, Nsengiyumva.

Source: Focus

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Students take technical exams

National practical examinations for Senior Six students in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools began yesterday. 

Over 17,426 candidates countrywide will sit for the two-week exams. They will be examined in 20 subjects including accounting, agriculture, building and construction, electronics and telecommunication, mechanics, among others.

Officially launching the exams at Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College, Nyamirambo in Kigali City, the State Minster for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, reiterated that the government’s focus is to enhance job creation through TVET.

“We have come here to see how technical students have planned their projects and defend them in practical exams. We want to focus on practical issues instead of theory and ensure that Rwandans become job creators other than job seekers,” said the minister.

Students at the Nyamirambo-based examination centre are drawn from Ecole Techniques Appliqués de Kimisange (ETAK) and Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College.

A student at ETAK, Jean Bosco Nshimiyimana, expressed his preference for technical subjects but decried lack of training equipment and the fact that students cannot directly pursue university education after A’ level.

“We do not have enough materials for practice. We study theoretical issues yet we sit practical exams which is difficult for us. Besides, however hard you may study, it is almost impossible to join university thereafter,” said Nshimiyimana. 

“It would be ideal to provide us with enough equipment as practical studies are so enjoyable; I have started to benefit from the skills learnt since I was in senior five,” Innocent Ishimwe, a public works student at Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College, said.

“My dream is to become an architect and compete worldwide as I will have no limitation,” he added.

The minister acknowledged the inadequacy of equipment in TVET schools, but insisted that much is being done to make them available, 

“Besides lack of technical equipment which is expensive, we also have the issue of qualified teachers. We hope that by 2017, we will have sorted it,” said Harebamungu.

At the launch, the Workforce  Development Authority (WDA) handed building equipment worth Rwf141 million to TVET schools, including theodolites, precision instruments used in construction  to measure angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. The equipment will go to ETO Nyamata, St Peter Kimbogo, ETO Gatumba in Ngororero District, Gakoni Polytechnic in Gatsibo District, among others.

According to the deputy director general of WDA, Irené Nsengiyumva, the equipment which will help in the teaching of the construction studies, was donated by a donor from England’s Portsmouth  University. 

Alex Ntwari, a student at ETO Nyamata, said the equipment had come in handy, pointing out that schools previously lacked such equipment which was a barrier to practical work.  

WDA has over 293 technical secondary schools and vocational training centres spread countrywide as well as two Integrated polytechnics regional centres (IPRC) in Kicukiro and Huye districts.

Source: The New Times