Rwanda has the highest primary school enrolment rates, for both boys and girls, in Africa. Within the school system, Rwanda operates on a 6-3-3 structure:
Primary School 6 years (P1 – P6)
Junior Secondary 3 years (S1 – S3)
Senior Secondary 3 years (S4 – S6)
Three official languages of instruction are used in the Rwandan education system:
Kinyarwanda P1 – P3
English P4 – University
French Supplementary in Primary and Secondary
The academic year in Rwanda typically runs from January until October and a school day for teachers is from 07:30 – 17:00. Primary students either attend school in the morning or in the afternoon, Secondary pupils attend from 08:00 – 14:00 (on average).
Rwanda is moving from an exam based curriculum towards a new competency based curriculum, which focuses on learner-centred teaching practices.
The qualified teacher/pupil ratio within Primary education is quite high despite the double-shift system currently in operation (i.e. the curriculum is delivered by subject teachers to classes who attend in the morning or in the afternoon).
With high enrolment rates, there are a number of challenges facing Rwanda’s teachers whilst trying to provide quality education. These include large class sizes, limited resources, long working hours, the introduction of new teaching methodologies and learning assessment tools, and poor English language skills. A number of organisations are supporting the Rwandan Government to continue developing and delivering opportunities to upskill local educators in order to realise their potential and the Government’s educational aims.
Uganda has the highest proportion of children under 16, in relation to its population, in the world.
Universal Primary Education (UPE) was introduced in 1997 which succeeded in dramatically increasing the number of children attending school.
Primary School 7 years (P1 – P7)
Secondary School 6 years (S1 – S6)
A very small proportion of pupils attend Pre-Primary although this is now a Government focus, with every Government Primary School required to open a Pre-Primary nursery class.
The academic year runs from the end of January until the beginning of December, and a school day runs from 08:00 – 15:30 for P4 through to Secondary and 08:00 – 13:00 for P1 to P3.
From P1 to P3 pupils are taught a thematic curriculum, which is based around themes of daily life and the human body etc. P4 is seen as a transitional year with pupils moving from the thematic curriculum into a subject based curriculum. At the end of P7 students take the high-stakes Primary Leaving Examination (PLE), which determines whether or not they can progress into Secondary education.
The languages of instruction used in the Ugandan education system:
From P1 to P3, pupils are, according to Government policy, taught in the local language, of which there are many.
From P4 onward, pupils are taught in English.
The local language policy presents a challenge as classes often contain children who speak many different languages, and sometimes the teacher may not speak any of these. Additionally, there is some pressure from parents for their children to be taught in English rather than the local language. This is due to the misplaced historical association of English with success and status.
There are a number of other challenges within Uganda’s education system:
Class sizes are frequently large (200+ students at times)
High levels of primary drop out
Teaching methods are didactic and teacher centred
Teachers have limited opportunities for professional development activities
Insufficient or inadequate infrastructure and learning materials.
The Ugandan Government recognises the need to improve the quality of teaching and learning and are working with various organisations to assist in developing the capacity of teachers, head-teachers, and District officials to lead the improvements that are needed.
There is also a recognition of the importance of early years education as demonstrated by the Ministry’s recent decision to ask all government primary schools to develop a nursery provision.
GLP works with partners in Rwanda and Uganda to provide meaningful community based placements that provide reciprocal learning opportunities for you, your Cohort, our overseas partner colleagues, and, teachers and pupils within your host schools.
In Rwanda, GLP works in partnership with Inspire Educate and Empower Rwanda (IEE), a not-for-profit organisation registered by the Rwandan Government Board. IEE works in collaboration with the Rwanda’s Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) to support the development and delivery of national school based education priorities. Current priorities include:
Improving English language skills and
Teaching methodologies of basic education teachers (P1-S3).
IEE support this activity through In-service Teacher Development and School-based Mentoring programmes.
In Uganda, GLP works in partnership with Redearth Education, a Registered Charity in the UK and a registered NGO in Uganda. Current programmes include:
Developing Good Practice in Teaching and Learning
Early Grade Reading
Nursery Good Practice in Teaching and Learning
Pilot Feeding Programme
Leadership and Management.
In the delivery of the above programmes, Redearth provides CPD training and ongoing support by Field Officers to schools. Field Officers undertake regular monitoring and evaluation activities and conduct an annual assessment of teachers and schools in line with Redearth’s Achievement Award criteria.
In addition to the above programmes, Redearth has developed a successful model nursery school, which is used to support the training of local nursery practitioners. Redearth is committed to build the capacity of the local organisation to ensure the sustainability of their programmes.
Redearth work with a variety of partners including: LRTT, STIR Education and Lessons for Life Foundation to deliver its programmes. In addition, Redearth is a member of the Basic Education Working Group of the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports.
How do you support GLP’s partners?
We refer to your placement as a ‘reciprocal learning opportunity’ this essentially means that through observations and dialogue, you and your colleagues at IEE and Redearth will have the opportunity to learn from each other. You are not a volunteer, this is a personal and professional development opportunity that will impact you in the way you live and teach forever and whilst you have a wealth of experience and skills to share, you also have a lot to learn.
Whilst on placement you will draw on your bank of teaching methodologies and specialist skills to support your Rwandan and Ugandan colleagues in their delivery of the curriculum. In addition, you can offer a fascinating insight into your country, its culture, and what it means to live and work in Scotland. From your Rwandan and Ugandan colleagues, you will learn how to enhance your teaching skills with access to limited or no resources; and, through first-hand exposures to your new ‘home’ you will have access to a new culture and way of life, increasing your resilience, resourcefulness, knowledge and understanding.