Is 12 years Basic Education the key driver of Human Capital Development in Rwanda?
I don’t know what rings a bell for you if you hear this term ‘’Education for all’’ but what I know is that We are not having enough conversation around it. We are currently in The modern world which is a fickle place when you think about it and in this century We are becoming more educated than any of the past generations, yet this is ironically leading to more irrationality than ever before. Why is this? Typically, education should lead to reason, the reason to understanding, and understanding to a more open dialogue among parties, powers, and individuals towards problem-solving. Instead it seems that nowadays We are going to school to just get degrees and merely compare how smart we are.
Rwanda counts an estimated number of 12 million people on the surface of 26,338 square kilometers and one of the biggest heritage that the country has is its own people. Rwanda has The Compulsory education which lasts for 9 years from age 7 to age 15, it covers primary and lower secondary education a few years ago the government expanded it to 12 years basic Education for all. It is commonly known as “12 Years Basic Education. Its fast-tracking program showed the rapid increase in enrollment, retention and completion at primary and lower secondary levels (Mineduc,2015). The secondary Education is the sine-qua-non for human capital development and economic growth (World bank, 2017). Rwanda have invested in its people however, looking at the 12 years basic education more work need to be done.
What are the challenges 12 years basic Education face?
Heavy Workload of the teacher
The 12 years basic Education in Rwanda face many challenges regarding Equipping the youth with necessary skills that can allow the students to compete on the job market as responsible human capital. Firstly The basic education was established by the government to help the student with low grades and student who cannot affords the school fees for boarding schools to pursue the basic education for free. It is unfortunate that These schools are not competent, they have insufficient recruitment of teachers which is not proportional to the increase in enrollment. A student who attended the 12 years basic Education School mentioned that her class had was 55 students to only one teacher hence it leads to the heavy workload of the teachers and it affected the overall learning performance of the students.
12 years Basic Education For all schools have Inadequate Quantitative and Qualitative Infrastructure and teaching instructional materials, They do not have sciences combination because of lack of laboratories and limited qualified staff to teach sciences and technology related courses. All these affect education systems negatively to tailor the labor market and the development of the human capital .
Teachers Expertise and Pedagogy
The Teachers expertise and Pedagogy in 12 years schools are questionable. The study conducted by MasterCard Foundation on Secondary Education in Africa : Preparing youth for the Future of Work (SEA), which was builds on the World Bank’s Secondary Education in Africa initiative of 2003 to 2008 highlighted that Teachers have degrees in their respective areas but when it comes to refresher courses, research papers to updating their knowledge, most of the teachers do not update their knowledge. They have graduated a longtime ago and they have different understanding with the students. they are fluent in Information and communication Technology (ICT) and the today’s dynamic technologies . They believe in the things they have studies long time ago and they didn’t update them which hinder the human capital Development.
The Current Curriculum focus more on readings, note memorization and passing exams. Schools focus on who get a good grade than delivering the skills needed on the job market. ‘’ We were conditioned to cram text books and pass exams’’ one of the student said . Some students were fortunate enough assigned to the teachers that would impact meaningful life skills and encourage critical thinking.The curriculum lack the updated information that is relevant for the future development.
So What can be Done?
The government need to work on Teachers recruitment and ICT (Information & Communication Technology) enforcement because the modern Word is heading to the place where technology is going to take over everything and if Education is not integrating with the new technology that are coming in, I don’t see the relevance of the education for all. Let me try to demystify the elephant in the room, The work of (Jacob Morgan, 2014) highlighted the key trends we see today and how they are impacting the future of work and the human capital. His research talk about the new behavior shaped by the social media and web. These new behaviors are now entering into organizations, and It has given rise to new social and collaborative platforms for businesses. Technology is taking over regarding the big data and The internet of things; These are the primary parts of technology that are impacting how we work and how We interact with each other. However, more things are yet to be seen on what the impact of Technology will be on how we work and behave. The Human capital need to be prepared enough for It.
Moreover, The schools should stop forcing the students to be “smart”, Because The world we live in today is not asking for smartness to solve problems. The challenges that confront the country is the productivity of it’s human capital. So rather than teaching The students to compete with each other for who gets higher grades in examinations and see learning as a competition of intelligent students .The schools must redirect their effort and changing strategies on how to support the students to be productive. The human capital the country need are critical thinkers, Problem solvers, data analyzer and effective communicators and many more. The schools need to think about how to reward and promote students not for how high they score grades in examinations, but how they use the classroom lessons to solve problems and this is possible through updating the curriculum, Bringing the teachers who are motivated and competent.
In conclusion, Education is a human right and like other human rights it cannot be taken for granted (Brende,2015), Access to high quality of education is the key to the development of the country and the basic education is the backbone. For The Government of Rwanda Coming up with the program like 12 years’ basic education is a good decision. However, the stakeholders both the students and teachers are showing the weaknesses of the program through the results of the students graduated from these schools. 12 years basic Education graduates are unemployed, they are not competent to the labor market and They don’t learn important soft skills. The World Bank Development report 2018 (WDR, 2018) was devoted 2018 year entirely to education, and the report highlighted the way Education is a critical human Welfare, and the 21st-century skills will be vital for the future this is the time to question the relevance of Education for all on the human capital development but If the Government and other policymakers came up with the program, it is possible to do something about it where both boarding schools students and 12 years basic education students can have access same high quality of education hence give the human capital the confidence to the labour market as the responsible citizens.
1. World Bank Development report (WDR 2018), Learning to realize Education Promise, Washington D.C available at:http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2018
2. Ministry of Education(2015), National Education For All 2015 Review, Rwanda, available at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002317/231725e.pdf
3. Jacob M (2014), The Future of Work, San Francisco .CA, Available at http://otgo.tehran.ir/Portals/0/PDF/The%20Future%20of%20Work.pdf 4.
4. Brende.B (2015), Human rights in the new development goals, Oslo, available at https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/unday/id2008978/