Education gains at stake

Monday August 19 2019

students

Data shows that some 24 per cent of children enrolled in Primary One repeat the class. PHOTO | FILE 

ARAFAT MUGABO
By ARAFAT MUGABO
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Education specialists are concerned about the high number of pupils repeating classes, which is affecting the transition levels to secondary school.

This is despite government efforts in providing learning materials in both public and private schools across the country as part of its efforts to boost the quality of education in the country.

According to Marie Therese Uwizeyeyezu, a primary and pre-primary school specialist in the Ministry of Education, 24 per cent of children enrolled in Primary One repeat the class.

“The number of children repeating classes is high; this leads to school dropouts because children begin to lose trust in themselves,” said Ms Uwizeyeyezu, adding that the high dropout level undermines secondary school enrollment which currently stands at about 34 per cent.

While Ms Uwizeyeyezu said a study is yet to be done to establish the root causes of the rising cases of repetition at primary level, experts partly attribute this to a failure by parents from vulnerable families to enroll their children in pre-primary schools.

“Parents need to go back to their core role of raising their children instead of prioritising work and other activities.

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A child’s memory develops between the ages of one and six, a period that requires intensive care,” said Dr Isaac Munyakazi, the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education.

But for parents such as Aline Mugwaneza, a mother of three, nursery school is expensive and ineffective.

“The government should invest in constructing classrooms to reduce the congestion and employ experienced teachers instead of asking us to pay for nursery education,” said Ms Mugwaneza.

However, teachers underscore the importance of parents paying attention to their children as key to improving their outcomes in school.

Catherine Mukamasera, the headmistress of Little Gems Academy in Kigali said that parents have neglected their children such that even when they attend nursery school, they are unable to perform excellently at the primary level.

“We need to embrace our roles as mothers and fathers and nurture our children, and introduce them to the basics at home,”said Ms Mukamasera.

“What is needed is to sensitise parents to return to the basics of raising their children otherwise the rate of repetition will continue to grow regardless of the ease in accessing pre-primary education,” said Ms Mukamasera.

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