In April 2018, we carried out a needs assessment study to map and analyse the existing practices in the school leadership and teacher support systems in secondary schools in Rwanda. The assessment is part of the “Leaders in Teaching” initiative of the MasterCard Foundation. Leaders in Teaching is an initiative that transforms teaching and learning in secondary education across Africa so young people have the skills and competencies they need to succeed in work and life.
The assessment was initiated to inform the development and re-development, as well as the delivery of continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers and school leaders, including various diploma and certificate programmes at University of Rwanda College of Education.
This needs assessment applied both qualitative and quantitative approaches to investigate the existing practices, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders involved in school leadership and teacher support systems in secondary education in Rwanda.
Four districts out of 14 districts where the Leading in Teaching initiative will be implemented, were sampled and from each district one sector was selected.
Students, Head Teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, School Based Mentors (SBM), and School Subject Leaders for maths and sciences in secondary education from 18 Basic Education schools were involved in the needs assessment as respondents. Sector Education Officers, District Directors and Officers in charge of education also participated as informants. In total, 114 respondents were involved in the study.
The collected data gives a detailed picture of the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in both systems. Even though roles and responsibilities are to a certain extent clear, there is some overlap between roles and responsibilities and somehow a disconnect between different levels: the district, the sector and the school.
During observations at four schools, basic facilities such as water and electricity as well as basic ICT facilities (e.g. computers) were found to be in place. Nevertheless, we found that schools struggled with the management of these ICT facilities (e.g. installing regular Windows updates). Self-reported data on ICT literacy revealed that respondents generally felt quite comfortable in the basic use of ICT. However, the ICT basic literacy assessment showed a different picture whereby respondents were performing poorly especially when it comes to more complex options such as formatting of documents or internet searches.
School improvement planning was identified as an area of improvement whereby more attention could go to tasks of Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers such as staff job descriptions, organising teacher CPD and formulating strategies for teacher retention. Unclarity about the specific roles of an SBM, lack of competences and time of SBMs to organise CPD for teachers and little knowledge about the Competence Based Curriculum were identified as main areas of improvement during focus group discussions with SBMs and new teachers.
STEM teachers were found to struggle with the duration of the lesson periods which were found to be too short to develop coherent lessons that are in line with the CBC. Although many of them applied learner-centred techniques frequently, some of them did not feel sufficiently confident to apply such techniques effectively.
In response to the need assessment results, content of the CPD programmes for involved stakeholders is being re-developed. At the same time, the CPD programmes are being re-developed for delivery into a blended learning mode that consists of partial online learning coupled with face-to-face sessions. A course on Digital Literacy for Online Learning was developed to prepare teachers and school leaders for this learning mode. The first cohort of 450 head teachers and deputy head teachers will take this course in December 2018, while two additional cohorts will follow in 2019 and 2020. At the same time, VVOB will provide laptops to more than 700 schools to enable teachers and school leaders to take the different CPD courses in blended learning mode.
You can download the full report available on our website.