KIGALI— Rwanda’s government is undertaking a series of measures to help stamp out automatic promotion and any teacher who acts contrary to the directives will be held to account, Education minister Valentine Uwamariya told a news conference Friday.
She said one of the measures is construction of more classrooms, which will reduce congestion in classroom units, and recruitment of additional teachers.
This, the minister said, is expected to improve student learning and boost quality education.
“We were initially supposed to construct 22,000 classrooms in two years but we will now do it in a matter of months,” she said, adding that the target is to complete the exercise before schools reopen in September.
Schools were forced to close in March as government embarked on fighting Covid-19 pandemic. Authorities said later that all public and private schools that follow national curriculum would resume classes in September.
Uwamariya said fewer students in a classroom will allow teachers to better understand individual learners and help them accordingly.
“If a teacher has a class they can manage and the necessary teaching materials, then they will have to explain how a student gets promoted without the required knowledge,” she said.
Automatic promotion had been adopted as a policy back in 2001 as government sought to curb student dropout and deliver on its promise of universal education before the policy was terminated in February this year.
The ministry says some 29,000 new teachers will be recruited to cater for the planned classrooms.
TVET schools have been contracted to produce and deliver additional 517,500 desks, the minister said.
The minister added that every classroom will have 23 desks and about 40 students.
Currently, there is an average of 75-100 children per classroom in primary schools, well above the 46-50 students recommended internationally.
Government will meet the cost of construction of half of the proposed 22,000 classrooms while the World Bank will fund the others. At least 31, 932 latrines will also be constructed.
The exercise is expected to cost a combined Rwf218 billion, officials said.