A delegation from the College of Education and External Studies of the University of Nairobi paid a visit to the College of Education of the University of Rwanda in a quest to learn from the experiences of Rwanda in the reconstruction of social cohesion after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsi. The visit was also aimed at seeking partners from the University of Rwanda in the area of education in emergencies as tool for conflict prevention across the African continent and beyond.
The delegation consisted of students and lecturers led by Prof. Winston Jumba Akala, Dean of the School of Education, University of Nairobi. They were received by the College of Education Principal, Prof. George K.Njoroge and Prof. Lakhan Lal YADAV, the Director of African Centre for Excellence for Innovative Teaching and Learning of Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS) as well as the Director of Operations, Mr. James Ngoga.
Prof. George K.Njoroge ( left hand) and Prof. Winston Jumba Akala ( right hand)
Prof. Akala said that they were visiting Rwanda in order to exchange experiences about the role of education in creating stability in the human society. He indicated that his team wanted to learn the best practices on how Rwanda reconstructed its education in the aftermath of the crisis of the genocide against the Tutsi in April 1994. He further added that his College desired to collaborate with the University of Rwanda, College of Education in different areas including education in emergencies. ‘’ We want to learn best practices from the University of Rwanda’s College of Education on excellent approaches used in delivery of content, how teaching is like, especially the best practices in terms of teaching and the curriculum’’, he said.’’ We have to learn from each other!’’, Prof. Akala observed.
Prof. George K.Njoroge welcomed the delegation from the College of Education and External Studies /University of Nairobi
Dr. Loise Gichuki, Coordinator for Education in Emergencies and Dr. Daniel Komo Gakunga, Lecturer of Comparative and International Education and Education in Emergencies, as well as a student representative who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, affirmed the importance of the program in consolidating their research for a common ground approach to societal conflict resolution through education in emergencies across the African continent and beyond.
’’ We are happy to be in Rwanda, because we will interact with a number of people to help understand how they reconstructed their minds into the peacebuilding process so that they may not look at each other as enemies but as one people’’, Dr. Gichuki noted. She further said, ‘’as we have in our program international students from South Soudan, Liberia and Somalia…., we want to go beyond national and start thinking international on how education in emergencies can help create a stable global society. We want to come up with international solutions, not Kenya-based solutions’’.
Dr. Gakunga in his part stated that he desired to know how best the society can create a conducive environment for young people so that they can blossom.
In his remarks, Prof. Njoroge thanked members of the delegation to visit the University of Rwanda for experience exchange for the good of the entire society. He took them through the historical background of the University of Rwanda and initiatives taken in view of its mandate in order to actualize its assigned mandate by the people of Rwanda. He also gave an overview of the College of Education with a particular emphasis on the contribution of each academic program and relevancy not only to the nation but in a fast changing global society.
Responding to visitors’ need to learn about the factors of the reconstruction of the Rwandan society in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsi, Prof. Njoroge stressed the important role played by education in the humanization of the Rwandan society. He said that in the aftermath of the genocide perpetrated against Tutsi, education system changed radically. As he observed, the same education system which had been used as a tool in perpetuating hatred and divisionism was transformed into a tool that helped to foster unity and reconciliation and combat any kind of divisionism among Rwandans. It was now a tool for positive societal transformation.
‘’ The education system in Rwanda was used as a tool for discrimination; a tool used to dehumanize other people’’, he observed, and added that ‘’it is also education that played the role of humanization by transforming the actors after 1994 to be agents of social justice’’. He emphasized that, ‘’it is an education which is fundamentally supposed to respond to human development, a holistic approach in all areas of Rwanda’s vision to be a knowledge-based economy’’.
In addition to education as factor of the societal cohesion, the College of Education Principal told the delegation that since the end of the genocide against Tutsi, Rwanda embarked on a lengthy healing and reconciliation journey establishing different mechanisms geared to facilitate the healing at the individual, community and national levels. As examples of the government initiatives for the consolidation of peace and reconciliation in the country, he talked about the community-based courts (Gacaca), the establishment of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) and of the National Itorero Commission, amongst others.
Of particular interest, Prof. Lakhan Lal Yadav, Director of African Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS) introduced the Centre to the visitors. He indicated his openness and readiness of the Centre to explore areas of collaboration with the College of Education and External Studies of the University of Nairobi.
Prof. Yadav introduced the ACEITLMS to the delegation from the College of Education
and External Studies/University of Nairobi
In his closing remarks, Prof. Akala commended Prof. George K. Njoroge and Prof. Lakhan Lal YADAV for the fruitful discussions between both parties and for the warm welcome extended to them. He also conveyed the greetings from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi and the Principal of the College of Education and External Studies.
The visit was concluded by open discussions between the students of both colleges facilitated by Prof. Yadav.
Discussions between the students of both institutions facilitated by Prof. Yadav
Public Relations and Protocol Officer
University of Rwanda-College of Education