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Rwanda, September 2016: “In teaching there is freedom” – Inspiring the next generation of educators

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016
Jean Nizeyimana demonstrates the use of local materials for teaching aids.

By Veronica A. Houser

Rwamagana District, September 2016 – In the first few moments stepping onto campus, it is apparent that Bicumbi Teacher Training College is not an ordinary secondary school. Built in 1973, the school’s age is invisible beneath pristine landscaping and spotless brick classrooms. Quotes by Socrates on hand-painted signs speckle the courtyards: “I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.”

Jean Nizeyimana is an instructor, or “tutor”, at TTC Bicumbi. Married with three young children, he has been educating Rwanda’s next generation of teachers for over ten years. Jean loves teaching, and prides himself on challenging students to demonstrate their knowledge in practical ways in order to distinguish themselves from others. When he is not in the classroom, Jean can be found proudly showcasing his students’ latest creations in the Teacher’s Resource Center (TRC), one of many innovations made possible due to generous support from the Ikea Foundation, UNICEF, and other partners.

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016
Jean Nizeyimana describing the types of teaching aids created in the Teacher’s Resource Center at Bicumbi TTC.

Students study the art of teaching for six class periods per day, one of which is spent in the TRC. Jean shows them how to make teaching aids from easily accessible local materials, such as discarded containers of Pringles, rice sacks, empty water bottles, and banana leaves. These materials are used to enhance student engagement and provide visual representations of the theories being communicated. For example, Jean demonstrates how water bottles can be used to convey measurements of volume in a science class. Students can also gain practical classroom experience by modelling their new resources at a nearby primary school.

As a result of dedicated tutors like Jean, students are immediately qualified to enter the workforce as primary school teachers after completing three years at the TTC. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF Rwanda is proud to support such inspirational leaders who are shaping the young minds of Rwanda.

“In teaching there is freedom,” Jean asserts. “We can get hope from our new generation; we help our country to develop by educating everyone.”



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