Limited learning materials threaten education system

Wednesday May 25 2022

Auditor General has raised the red flag over limited learning materials and classrooms in public primary school. Photo: CYRIL NDEGEYA


Several public primary schools have limited access to learning materials which educators say could affect quality of education.

According to the Auditor General's for the year 2021, overcrowding and limited learning materials are threatening quality of education in the country.

While the government had availed around Rwf62 billion to each district under “Rwanda quality basic education project” 11 districts failed to construct the classrooms, leading to overcrowding.

The ministerial order issued last year determining the quality of education stated that classrooms shall not exceed 46 learners but the audits found class-rooms with 75 learners and schools opt to use a shift system.

The report further found that primary schools are grappling with limited access to books required for competency based curriculum. For instance, the report identified 46 primary schools in eight districts with no Kinyarwanda and mathematics pupil’s book and teacher’s guide in all levels.

According to an assessment made by USAID project with other education stakeholders (Rwanda Early grade reading assessment) in 2018, 58.6 percent of primary one pupils were unable to read any Kinyarwanda sentence in their Kinyarwanda primary one book, 27.9 percent of primary three failed to read a passage of 160 words in one minute with 36 percent failed to answer the compressive questions of the passage.



Hilarie Mukantabana, a teacher with 23 years experience, told Rwanda Today reducing the lesson time to 40 minutes to cater for shifts presents a challenge for teachers.

More time, she said, is needed to improve learning outcomes for pupils.

“In the old curriculum, the teacher used to have his/her own class with few pupils and co-ordinate how to teach all subjects according to the feedback he got from the student's understanding of the subjects. But now a teacher comes  and teaches his subject in 40 minutes and leaves, another enters for another subject which the learners are unable to maintain at his level...” Mr. Mukantabana said.

Primary teachers and parents have appealed to the education authorities to review the current curriculum which expects pupils to have many different lessons in a short period and to deploy enough books of some subjects like Kinyarwanda and mathematics.

For instance, in the lower level of primary, there are nine subjects which are classified into 42 lessons to be taught in 28 hours in a week. For upper level, they have 48 lessons that are taught in 32 hours in a week.

The lesson takes 40 minutes with its respective teacher, teachers exchange classes after 40 minutes according to their subjects, the pupils are also studying hard lessons compared to their levels. Due to this system of new competency curriculum adopted in 2016 , the pupils are grappling with capturing many hard lessons in a short period of time.

Primary one pupils are now supposed to learn combined consonants of Kinyarwanda which was formerly for primary two students. This is added to other subjects like English, mathematics and other subjects.