December 7, 2019

Education Ministry Abandons ‘Different Teachers Different Subjects’ System At Primary Level

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Inside a lower primary class at a school in Kigali. Beginning next academic year, kids in this class will be seeing same teacher throughout the year

For pupils at lower primary school level, there will be a single teacher teaching all subjects beginning January for the 2020 academic year onwards, the Education Ministry has ruled.

One teacher will be assigned to teach all subjects taught to kids in Primary One to Primary Three (P1-P3), according to Education Minister Dr Eugene Mutimura, in communication to local government representatives and religious leaders.

The existing system is that different teachers teach different subjects.

As par the Ministerial Order of January 2016, students in lower primary school learn seven subjects. They are: Kinyarwanda, English, mathematics, social and religious studies, sciences and elementary technologies, creative arts (music, dance and drama, fine art and crafts), and physical education and sports.

The hours of contact per week are set at twenty for lower primary. By the end of a given learning day of the week, a child has seen different faces.

It is these different faces that Education Minister Dr Mutimura says is not good at all towards the development of the children.

This sysyem has been known in the education sector as professorat or localised in Kinyarwanda as “Porofesora”.

“It is inconceivable that a child in P1 seeing five different teachers in a single day is able to develop as we would expect them to,” said Dr Mutimura at a stakeholders workshop on Thursday.

“Children at that age need personal attention of the teacher, which is not possible since there are different teachers and none is specifically responsible.”

The Education Ministry says that for schools which have more than 70 pupils per class, two teachers will be assigned: the class teacher and assistant.

Since the system now being phased out was introduced, headteachers have campaigned for it to be reformed giving different reasons. Some said in addition to it not helping pupils, it was also costly as a school needed many teachers.

Other teachers said that under the system, teachers, say for example teaching science, found themselves teaching P1 up to P5. Basically, a teacher for a particular subject taught at different levels in the same school.

In the new system, the Porofesora will continue from P4 onwards. Kids will have different teachers teaching different subjects.

This latest change follows the controversy over the language of instruction which rocked the country in the past week. The Government has changed the language of instruction at P1-P3 between English and Kinyarwanda, twice in less than 5 months.

It has now been settled, all schools – both government and private, will use English as the language of instruction.

The new addition is that from P4 onwards, French language will be mandatory subject, and it will be among subjects examinable at O’Level in secondary school.

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