Govt to assess quality in higher learning institutions

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The government is set to assess the quality of education in existing higher learning institutions and review the current accreditation and licensing requirements for the new ones in a bid to ensure quality output.

This among the 16 resolutions released Friday by the Prime Minister’s office, which were adopted by the 17th National Leadership Retreat that ran from Feb.16 to 19 at the Rwanda Defense Force Combat Training Center, Gabiro, in Gatsibo district.  

The retreat also resolved to “discontinue automatic student promotion practice in schools and reinforce a merit-based system to prioritize quality in education.”

The policy of automatic promotion of students had been adopted in primary and secondary public schools in order to avoid repetition and school dropouts.

The retreat also resolved to increase number of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools and devise a strategy to make them more accessible and affordable.

The retreat was chaired by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

During the retreat participants noted that education was among the key drivers Rwanda needs to achieve her Vision 2050, where the east African nation aspires to have attained upper-middle-income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050.

President Kagame in his remarks faulted education investors in the country who he said prioritize profit instead of quality by investing in universities that produce half-baked graduates.

“To have quality education you also need quality in-put. It means you need quality teachers, quality facilities, infrastructure …if you don’t have all those you are going to have a problem definitely,” Silas Lwakabamba, former Rwanda Education minister told Xinhua.

“There is need to set up systems in institutions where there are checks and balances. On the other hand there should be quality checks internally and externally,” he added.

Ismael Buchanan, senior lecturer of the department of political science at the University of Rwanda said government endeavors to construct classrooms and provision of materials rather than improving the capacity of the teaching workforce or tracking learning outcomes.

“So as far as our country Rwanda was committed to delivering education to the poor, it was also unfortunately, delivering poor education,” he told Xinhua.

“So it is evident that an effective and sustained effort to improve education quality has yet to be developed. That is why most of our graduates may find themselves in an invisible position as most of them are unable to possess a basic set of skills, including the ability to speak English,” he added.

Recent findings from government-commissioned study on existing gaps in education in Rwanda showed that in Rwanda a student reads 23 words per minute on average against the global average of 60 words.

A teacher in Rwanda reads only 90 words per minute compared to the global average of 120 words, the study also showed.

The retreat locally called Umwiherero focused on shaping the country in line with Vision 2050.

About 400 people from the government, private sector, youth and friends of Rwanda took part in the four-day retreat.

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