In 2017, VVOB set its five-year goal for the Rwandan education system: ‘Leading, Teaching and Learning Together’. In partnership with the Mastercard Foundation through Leaders in Teaching, at the secondary school level, and the University of Rwanda – College of Education and Rwanda Education Board, VVOB offers relevant certificate and diploma courses to primary and secondary school leaders, sector education officers, mentor teachers and science teachers to improve educational services. They, in turn, then provide their learners with the best learning conditions. VVOB and partners’ work with teachers also aims 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.
Head Teacher Janvier Ntakirutimana, Sector Education Officer Desire Rugengamanzi and Science Teacher Eugenie Kangore share how the professional development training programmes have helped them improve their daily work as educators.
Involving all stakeholders
Janvier Ntakirutimana has been a head teacher since 2010. He currently leads Munyaga Secondary school in Rwamagana district. The school has 242 girls and 186 boys. Before he enrolled in a continuous professional development (CPD) diploma course in Effective School Leadership, offered by the University of Rwanda – College of Education (URCE), his school had neither written vision nor mission. In addition, he would draft a school improvement plan (SIP) alone and keep it in his office.
“Vision and mission were completely not there. The SIP was there to be presented to inspectors from different education institutions and other visitors. During the training of URCE and VVOB, especially in the module about ‘Creating the school strategic direction’, I was inspired to set the school vision and mission for my school. I learnt that if not all stakeholders are involved in setting the school direction together, the development of the school becomes almost impossible due to lack of ownership. So, in April 2018, I organised meetings with teachers and school general assembly committee to discuss and set a vision and mission for our school,” said Mr. Ntakirutimana.
How an effective school leader supports his staff
Mr. Ntakirutimana admits that he was not doing all he was supposed to do to improve teaching and learning. “Undoubtedly, the training opened up my mind. I would rarely conduct class visits, and when I did go, I would not inform teachers. My intention was to criticise and give instructions. I thought that assessing what happens in a class was the responsibility of the deputy head teacher in charge of studies. Today, I conduct lesson observations and inform with the concerned teachers about what I would like to evaluate…. I give constructive feedback—appreciating what goes well and advise on areas of improvement afterwards. I now visit at least three teachers every week.”
Mr. Ntakirutimana was not helping the school-based mentor (SBM) to conduct CPD activities, until the training changed his mind.
“It was not until I participated in the training that I understood that my support to the SBM was crucial. Today the mentor teacher facilitates CPD activities every Thursday, and I also participate. I noticed that my presence motivates teachers to join. We identify teachers’ training needs together and plan the way forward. After realising that there was a need to train teachers on lesson planning, the SBM facilitated a session with all teachers to address it. Teachers also raised an issue on how to evaluate students in accordance with competence-based curriculum, so that was addressed among other CPD issues as well”.
After completing the diploma course in Effective School Leadership, Mr. Ntakirutimana was inspired and would like to continue learning about educational leadership. This is why he already identified a MA in Educational Leadership and Management which he plans to start early next year. “I will enrol in the weekend programme and I expect to uplift my knowledge and skills as far as school leadership is concerned.”
- Learn more from other school leaders on how VVOB’s support has transformed their skills.
- An impact story from Eugenie Kangore, a science teacher who became a ‘new teacher’ after completing a continuous professional development certificate course in Educational Mentorship and Coaching, offered with VVOB’s support.
- Desire Rugengamanzi, a Sector Education Inspector shares how he brings school leaders together in learning communities to tackle challenges together.