Rwanda Exports Critical Thinking to DR Congo

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By Daniel Sabiiti

After a success in Rwanda, the British Council has extended the Connecting Classrooms (CC) program to DR Congo as a way of grooming a generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers among children.

The training program kicked off with equipping the first phase of 85 DR Congo teachers with critical thinking skills and tools which will be passed on to students to be able to think outside the classroom box.

Esperance Uwamariya, the British Council Programmes manager said that the program is meant to enrich humanity and reach all children in regional communities.

“Class work not enough for children to become full human being, they need to learn how to relate, work in team, and express themselves in real life. This is why we are training teachers, for them to do likewise while in class” Uwamariya said during a three-day training which ended on Thursday.

The new Connecting Classrooms programme aims to address the gap in global skills by continuing to build the capacity of school leaders, teachers and policy makers to support them in integrating a range of core skills into the curriculum, thereby improving learning outcomes for young people.

This is done through use of six main core skills: critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and imagination, digital literacy, citizenship, student leadership and personal development, collaboration and communication.

In Rwanda, so far more than 1600 school heads and teachers and 300 from DR Congo have been trained since 2013. The programme will close in 2018.

At least 739 of the teachers graduated to Level 2 training where they sat for the Critical Thinking and Problem Solving course for the year 2016/17.

More than 1200 school leaders and teachers are expected to graduate to level two training: Digital literacy course this year while first batch of 100 school leaders will also be trained in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving course this year.

Over the next 3 years, the CC3 programme’s continuous professional development training in the core skills will build the capacity of 1500 teachers and 500 school leaders (headmasters), thus supporting them directly in the implementation of the new Competence Based Curriculum introduced last year.

The training of Congolese teachers took place in Nyamaseke district, western province and was sponsored by the British Council partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) in Rwanda.

The Congolese teachers said that the training was benefircial in addressing the current community concerns in the country especially conflict resolution.

“This training is timely and as educators we should be at the forefront of equipping the young ones with life skills. To resolve conflict, to communicate and become agents of change in the future,” Elie Moise Katabesha said.

Connecting Classrooms has been working in collaboration with the government of Rwanda but at a small scale covering only 10 districts out of the 30 districts but its success has pulled the government to come onboard in full swing.

Rwanda has implemented only one (critical thinking and problem solving) of the above core skills and some of the success stories indicate that when students and teacher work together the change learning environment, life in and outside school.

Connecting Classrooms offers funding and resources for school leaders and teachers professional development courses offering them the opportunity to share best practices with colleagues in the UK and more than 50 countries throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.





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