17 Feb 2023
The University of Rwanda-College of Education has partnered with the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC ) through Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB ) in the implementation of Rwanda Quality Basic Education for the Human Capital Development" project (RQBEHCD), sub-component 1.2. The move aims at enhancing teacher effectiveness for improving student learning through support of professional development of Mathematics and Science teachers.
To achieve this objective, RQBEHCD /Sub-component 1.2 team leaders proposed three innovations, approved and implemented : scripted lessons, Virtual Science Labs (VSLs) and Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach. This article will mainly focus on the students’ perceptions towards PBL approach.
In general, about 122 Mathematics and Science teachers/tutors from 16 TTCs, 16 model schools and 30 Mathematics and Science for Sub-Saharan Africa (MS4SSA) pilot schools trained in the first phase conducted at GS Cyahafi. As a recommendation from the training organizers,Teachers/tutors have been required to transfer the new knowledge and skills learnt to their students. As far as PBL is concerned, trainees had opportunities to make PBL hands-on activities to enable them implement the Competence-Based Curriculum(CBC) more effectively.
Education practitioners assert that PBL is aligned with the CBC. It is one of the learner-centered methods in which learners learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects for improving existing teaching practices. Mathematics and Science teachers /tutors were trained on 15 developed modules/projects with the purpose of achieving the assigned objective.
Through PBL learners learn by doing. They can either find or be given an authentic problem or issue and then utilize the prior knowledge obtained from the school or real-world experience to find out the relevant solution.
In the schools we visited, we were impressed by how students explain about their projects.They are very excited to implement different PBL projects. Apparently, all beneficiary schools of the project support should be imparting in students PBL knowledge and skills. The Project has addressed the issue of the materials /equipment which would have been the most serious obstacle.
At FAWE Girls School Gahini, a S.3 student commented on their Water Cleaning project, "We are very proud of our project. Our project about Water Cleaning. We are using local materials such as sand, charcoal, cotton etc to get clean water. We have noticed that there are people on our villages who are experiencing the challenges of getting clean water. “Therefore, my classmates and I decided to start this project expecting that we shall be able to assist them. We shall improve our project so that we can continue it when back to our villages.We hope to be able our villagers how they can get themselves clean water."
FAWE Girls School Gahini while explaining their Water Purification project
Another student praised the Vex-robot project saying, "We learnt the programming of robots, and we did many hands-on activities. We like our project ! Robots can be used to assist or free up human labour from certain tasks. For instance, this one is mobile in all directions. We can direct it to move and deliver any item we desire, such as a bottle of water.’’
FAWE Girls School Gahini students while explaining their Vex-robot project
GSDL Byimana was also visited. Students explained confidently their projects.They highlighted the importance of PBL projects that allowed them to learn Science by doing more practices. “We have made a solid soap and a liquid soap.The main purpose of this project is that we have seen that our school go to buy soaps from outside.As we have studied saponification, we wanted to make our own soaps as the school instead of buying them from outside where it is more expensive than we can buy ingredients and make them ourselves. So, we have thought of doing this project for that purpose", a S.6MCB student explained.
GSNDL Byimana students while explaining their Soap making project
A S.2 student group representative told us “We have a very good project. Our project is that of Food Processing. As you see here, these are some of our products.These are tasteful cakes we have made ourselves. We are planning to improve this project because people like cakes. It can help us generate money. It will even help us after our studies. With this project, we assure you that we shall not be jobless.”
GSNDL students while explaining their Food Processing project
In 20216, Rwanda shifted from knowledge-based to a competence-based curriculum. The main purpose was to enable school graduates to cope with job-related demands and enable them to become problem solvers.In order to achieve the needed learners’ competences, teachers were advised to shift from traditional teaching methods to learn-centered approaches. However, researches have found gaps among teachers in the implementation of the CBC. Therefore, RQBEHCD /sub-component 1.2 initiatives aim at bridging these gaps as far as Mathematics and Science teachers are concerned.
Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer
University of Rwanda-College of Education
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