AIMS finds increase in number of boys and girls pursuing STEM studies after teachers training program
African Institute of Mathematical science (AIMS) has indicated significant participation of students in science and mathematics subjects at the secondary level after dedicating efforts in providing professional development courses to teachers, high-quality classroom resources and smart classrooms.
The outcomes and strides were underscored on November 30, during the closing event of the Teachers Training Program( TTP) that connected key contributors in the program that left over 7000 teachers in services from 14 districts trained on the innovative teaching methods sensitive to gender differences to boast the number of all genders participating in STEM subjects and demonstrating excellence.
The training program that took six years reached to 844 schools from the selected 14 districts in the country. It also trained 1,400 education leaders at various levels including schools, sectors and districts to improve outcomes from the subjects.
Specifically, over 4000 teachers were trained on pedagogical effective information technology (ICT) skills to expand digital literacy in Rwanda.
Meanwhile, 200 secondary schools have been given science kits and smart classrooms, hence building a multifunctional smart classrooms at University of Rwanda College of Education ( URCE).
According to teachers who participated in the courses, their teaching pedagogies have been improved following the courses. They attribute the current strides in practical skills to the allocation of science kits such as laboratories, and smart classrooms provided by AIMS’s hands-on initiatives over the past six years. They acknowledged that students can involve in different scientific experiments that sharpen their capacity.
“I have already improved the way of teaching mathematics by creating good environment with my students. Before, students used to fear my subjects owing to how I taught them. I could teach too hard topics to students to understand, but I have been trained on how to teach the subject by determining the students’ thinking level” said a teacher who participated in the closure of the program.
According to National Examination and School Inspection Authority(NESA), the program have helped to innovate the methods of preparing exams for STEM studies in accordance with students capacity and the level of the practical knowledge.The move have shown results as the number of students passing examinations in STEM increased.
“Many schools with sciences and mathematics options are getting big number of students applying for them . This embraces significance in STEM pursuit”. Said Camille Kanamugire, Director in charge of Mathematics and sciences at NESSA.
Rwanda Education Board (REB) affirms that the Misconceptions about Mathematics and sciences that they are very hard subjects have been removed. With various practical training initiatives for teachers and the deployment of facilities have made the subjects become interesting.
According to Mastercard Foundation who is a critical partner in the AIMS’s Teachers program (TTP), they find much interests in equipping teachers with practical knowledge and facilities to modernize and smoothen their service.
“Teachers are very critical to many of us because everyone passes through the hands of the teacher” said David Rurangirwa, the Mastercard Country Director.
Girls in STEM perform tremendously
In particular, AIMS programs have been tackling gender stereotypes that tended to dissuade girls from engaging with mathematics and sciences subjects. It has made a significant strides with the mission of enhancing inclusive participation in the subjects for inclusive development.
” Now there is no difference in how girls and boys compete in STEM subjects. They are all doing well. Particularly, the number of girls pursuing them has exponentially increased compared to the past. A girl can now confidently conduct an experiment as a boy can do.” Said Pauline Mukankwiro, a teacher from G.S Rusisiro in Rwamagana district.
NESSA says the hesitations of girls in pursuing STEM subjects have been solved as ‘ there are many Girls’schools that have proven excellence in STEM’.
” for example, there are many schools such as FAWE girls school, Gashora girls high school, Maranyanyundo girls school and ENDP Karubanda that have testified big number of girls doing STEM and passing exams excellently.”
AIMS plans to scale the program to reach to others districts and schools to enable the program stretch efforts to other beneficiaries.
” The event of today was just a closure of the phase and the start of another one. we heard from our partners that they are advocating for next phase. We are going to sit down and define how the new program will be implemented.
Rwanda Education Board board (REB) adds that, apart from the AIMS’s Teachers Training Program (TTP) there are also other training programs that REB conduct with other different partners, all aiming to enhance the quality of teaching mathematics and sciences.
THE RWANDA SUN