Desire Rugengamanzi is a Sector Education Inspector in Mwili sector, Kayonza District. He completed a professional development certificate course in Educational Mentorship and Coaching, offered by the University of Rwanda – College of Education in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation through Leaders in Teaching, at the secondary school level, VVOB and Rwanda Education Board. The ultimate goal is to improve learning outcomes in basic education through improved school leadership and teaching so young people have the opportunities to find work or create their own. Mr Rugengamanzi shares how the certificate course enabled him to facilitate professional learning communities of school leaders more effectively.
“I used to chair educational meetings in my sector as an ‘inspector’ and we would discuss many issues. This would make it difficult to follow-up on each and everything. When I attended the training in Mentorship and Coaching, I learnt to become a good coach. I now take off the inspection/supervision “hat” and focus on facilitating school leaders to identify issues themselves and discuss possible actions to overcome challenges. I learnt to facilitate professional learning communities (PLCs), where we focus on issues we have control over. For instance, during one of the PLC sessions we identified students’ poor performance as an issue we can do something about. We agreed to support specifically primary 6, senior 3 and senior 6 students, because they are in their final years and need to be prepared for national examinations. Head teachers agreed to consult parents to pay incentives to teachers who accepted to coach the students after class and during weekends. After sharing experiences from different schools, we agreed to consider tests from high performing schools to prepare our students as well. The success rate in our sector increased from 60 per cent to 80 per cent within one year and we believe our strategy played a major role in this. However, focusing on final classes was an immediate solution. The long term solution is to improve teaching and learning in lower primary too by strengthening school-based professional development for teachers. To make PLCs more effective, we decided to rotate them from school to school. This also helps us to visit other schools so that school leaders can learn from one another.”
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