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AFRICME 6 Opening Remarks by the University of Rwanda-College of Education Acting Principal, Dr.Florien Nsanganwimana

29 Oct 2021

Dear :
• Honorable Minister of Education
• Vice-Chancellor, University of Rwanda
• College Principals
• Madam Prof. Mercy Kazima, ICMI Executive Committee Liaison for AFRICME
• Mathematics Educators
• Participants to the AFRICME 6 conference

It is a great opportunity for the University of Rwanda-College of Education to host the 6th Africa Regional Congress of ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction), AFRICME 6.
We are very grateful for the AFRICME and ICMI community to have selected Rwanda, through UR-CE and the African Centre of Excellence for Innovative Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS), as the host of AFRICME 6.

The ACEITLMS, which is primarily a University research centre, aims at strengthening human capacity in the delivery of quality postgraduate training in mathematics Education and science Education in Rwanda and across the south-eastern African region, in collaboration with regional and international institutions.
The Centre runs four PhD programmes, namely PhD by Research in Biology Education, PhD by Research in Chemistry Education, PhD by Research in Mathematics Education and PhD by Research in Physics Education. Out of 43 students who are enrolled in these programmes, 12 students (4 females) are enrolled in Mathematics Education. The Centre runs similar programs by coursework at master level with the number of students in mathematics education being more than three times that of PhD students in the same programme. For research and training, PhD students and associate members of ACEITLMS are encouraged to carry out outstanding research in Mathematics and Science Education. The Centre also supports its students and associate members to participate in international conferences to present the findings of their research to disseminate its research outputs.

AFRICME6 provides us with the opportunity to share our experience and perspectives about mathematical instruction from basic education to Tertiary Education. Indeed, since the establishment of ACEITLMS in 2016, academic members of UR-College of Education, including both students and Lecturers, undertake research aiming at improving STEM education. Research fields are institutions of learning in Rwanda, the East African Community and other sub-regions of Africa.
The research topics fall under a number of categories including :
i. Issues in teaching and learning of science and mathematics. With a special focus on Teaching approaches, assessment methods, experimental and problem-solving in science and mathematics education
ii. Students’ Scientific and mathematical thinking at school and college level
iii. ICT integration in teaching and learning of science and mathematics
iv. Visual and spatial modes in STEM learning
v. Socio-cultural and gender factors in learning STEM
vi. Science-Technology-Society-Environment Education
vii. Structure and dynamics of STEM knowledge
viii. Etc.
The four (4) sub-themes of AFRICME6 conference are to some extent aligned with and cut-across some of the abovementioned research areas.

The College of Education, through the schools’ and centre’s programmes and in collaboration with stakeholders in teacher training, including MINEDUC, conducts continuous professional development programmes aiming at upgrading and updating in-service teachers’ knowledge and skills. Currently, such programmes focus on the implementation of Competence-Based Curriculum and integration of ICT in teaching and learning. The integration of ICT in designing and development of teaching and learning materials has multiple advantages including mitigation of COVID-19 pandemic. Such tools allow access to learning during the total lockdown. Moreover, the teachers’ capacity to integrate ICT in teaching would be much easier if they were equipped with basic ICT skills such as use of computer and some useful softwares. While concerted effort and awareness raising are needed to improve the status quo, there is a great hope that the current situation will improve nationally and regionally.

As a specialised teacher training College, our College values the relevance of mathematics in all spheres of our life and its contribution to understanding scientific knowledge and its applications. The AFRICME 6 is an opportunity to reflect back and forth on how best we can fulfil this goal of mathematic instruction.

For the sake of time, let me stop here hoping that the experience and knowledge that will be shared during this conference will provide our participants with insights and ideas that will enable them to shape the teaching approaches and the research areas that will make Mathematics instruction more impactful in the live of our societies.

At this juncture, I would like to invite the Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda to give his welcome message and he will in turn introduce the guest of honour to deliver the opening remarks.

University of Rwanda : Mathematics Education thrilled with the opportunity to share our experience and perspectives about mathematical instruction

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