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MASTERCARD FOUNDATION’S LEADERS IN TEACHING INITIATIVE PROJECT AMID ACTIVITIES ENHANCING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PRACTICUM

10 Sep 2022

On 21 May 2018, the University of Rwanda, and MasterCard Foundation (MCF) signed a five-year agreement to implement Leaders in Teaching Program (LIT). This project is funded by MasterCard Foundation. It aims to assist the University of Rwanda-College of Education (UR-CE) to build the capacity of academic staff and pre-service teachers in Research, CBC, Practicum, and ICT. Each of these components is coordinated by a UR-CE academic staff as a LIT project part-time staff.
Under these components, LIT project has implemented different activities, having others in pipeline while others have not yet been implemented.

We approached Dr. Philothere Ntawitha, the Head of Practicum in a quest to get more information about the achievements of project. under Practicum component.

PRO : Dear Doctor Philothere, what is your core role in the LIT project
Dr. Philo. : My role as coordinator of practicum is :
• To coordinate all the practicum activities in the areas of pre-service teachers practicum
• Develop a plan for activity implementation with clear goals, indicators, and target
• Participate in the development of programs and production of training materials in the program areas.
• Participate in professional development and development of professional programs as well as to identify critical areas for the program intervention
PRO : What are your achievements, and their outcomes as regards to your component ?
Dr. Philo. : So far, the following are the deliverables achieved :
• The development of Practicum manual that details modalities for the implementation of practicum
• The review of subject specific teaching methods to integrate practicum activities
• The development of Training materials for both supervisors and school attachment mentors
• Drafting of MoU with hosting schools (although it is not yet signed) to establish a formal framework under which practicum and school attachment will be implemented
• Training of 161 URCE supervisors to build their capacity in relation to supervision and mentorship of student-teachers on practicum and school attachment
• Training of 842 school attachment mentors to build their capacity to supervise and mentor student-teachers on school attachment.
• Organization of practicum activities such as school visits, lesson observation, lesson delivery and assessment whereby 6374 student teachers participated to get school life experience.

PRO : Are there challenges encountered in the implementation of the projects’ action plans that fall under your responsibilities ? If yes, what are they ?

Dr. Philo : We encountered a number of challenges, related mainly to the big number of
student teachers to participate in practicum activities (last year we had around
3400 student teachers. This year we have around 2300 student teachers).
PRO : What have you done to address those challenges ?
Dr.:Philo : After analyzing the issue of the big number of student teachers we decided to place them in all secondary schools throughout the country. Initially practicum was to be conducted in schools around UR-CE campuses. However, some schools are reluctant to receive student-teachers or accept very few. To overcome these challenges, we have thought about an MoU establishing a formal framework for effective implementation of practicum.

We also noted that some student-teachers do not take practicum seriously. Some of them take it as a break rather than a make/learning experience. We therefore put in place a tight monitoring system aimed to strengthen practicum activities though it is hard to supervise student-teachers on practicum effectively.

Another challenge we generally face is the mismatch between school and academic calendar and school calendar, which affects the implementation of practicum activities. We hope to overcome this challenge by harmonization of both calendars.

Story by

NTIRANDEKURA Schadrac
Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer
University of Rwanda-College of Edcuation

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