Teachers endorse TMIS: System marks ‘a fresh start'

Teachers around the country are upbeat about the solutions the newly launched digital platform brings.

Steve Nzaramba
Jean Claude Nkekabahizi in interview.
16 August 2022

When Jean Claude Nkekabahizi joined the teaching profession back in 2008 he knew he needed to upgrade his qualifications as soon as possible. He had started out as a fresh secondary school graduate, teaching languages (Kinyarwanda and English) at GS Ruramira in Kayonza District, Eastern Province. 

“It did not take long before I enrolled for University and eventually obtained an A1 diploma,” he says. “I needed a pay raise and upgrading was the only pathway to that.”

Excited, he presented his new qualifications to his bosses. “I submitted my papers in time for the next promotion opportunity,” he recalls.

However, he had to wait for a whole year before any adjustments could be made.

“The head teacher submitted everything to the district on time but in vain,” he says. “At one point I was advised to follow up and take my file to the district but when I reached there, I was told that I had to wait for the next cycle of (teacher) placement,” he says. “I was demoralised, it was a nightmare because I had sacrificed a lot to upgrade my qualifications and here I was, not being recognised for my effort.”

In retrospect, Nkezabahizi says his file was affected by the lack of an efficient teacher management system. In the past schools used a rigorous manual process to enter and update data concerning teacher qualifications and other relevant information.

Nkezabahizi is not alone in his frustration with the old ways of managing information related to teachers.

Rose Nyiraneza, a primary school teacher at Duha Complex School in Rwamagana District with a 12-year experience, shares a similar story of systemic failures.

She recalls how her first posting was at a school far from her home and it took her one year and a half before she could be transferred to a school nearby. 

“I had to travel 16 kilometres every day” she says. “Even after I learnt that there were vacant positions at the school near my home and I put in my application for transfer, I still had to wait all that time before I was transferred.”

Today, Nkezabahizi, now a teacher at GS Kayonza in Kayonza District, like Rose and other teachers around the country, are upbeat about the newly launched digital platform, the Teacher Management Information System (TMIS), which they say marks a “fresh start”.

New system set to benefit over 93,000 teachers

The platform, set to be applied nationwide, will be effective from the next academic year. It is designed to help in matters related to teacher placement, teacher registration, licensing, promotions, transfers as well capacity building.

An impressive headcount of 93,000 primary and secondary teachers stand to benefit, both in public and government aided schools across the country, according to officials.

TMIS will allow for timely communication and interaction between schools, districts and national authorities like Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB), eliminating inefficiencies of the old manual system.

Some of data managers who are also teachers are grateful for Teacher Management Information system
Some of data managers who are also teachers are grateful for Teacher Management Information system

Supported by UNICEF and MasterCard Foundation and implemented by REB, the new platform will allow for recording and updating data regarding teachers more easily and in a timely, seamless manner

According to Euphrem Tuyisenge, the TMIS National Consultant, the platform is expected to contribute toward improved education quality and enhanced teacher welfare.  

TMIS is a seamless platform and will ensure the harmonisation of all the teacher related information as all data will be recorded once and updated regularly,” he says. “For instance, teachers will be promoted on time and placement based on tangible information.”

Teachers expect 'greater transparency'

For Jean Claude Nkekabahizi, this digital platform marks a new chapter and a fresh start. “It’s refreshing to know that no teacher will have to endure what many of us experienced under the manual system,” he says. “The significantly improved efficiency will change a lot of things and make the profession more attractive.”

Clearly TMIS has raised hopes of efficiency and transparency in the ranks. Annonciatte Kayitesi, who teaches at Groupe Scolaire Musha in Rwamagana District too feels this service could build confidence among the teachers if implemented properly. Service delivery in the education sector was so slow and poor due to the use of manual processes. For instance, one could apply for a transfer and see it granted after you had already moved on,” he said.

For Rose Nyiraneza, TMIS comes as a huge relief for struggling teachers. “I hope the digital system will be implemented well; I am happy it has come while I am still teaching”. She adds, “With the new system, we also expect greater transparency in service delivery and we are grateful as teachers.”

Betholde Niyirora, the head teacher of GS Kayonza in Eastern Province, described TMIS platform as a milestone .
Betholde Niyirora, the head teacher of GS Kayonza in Eastern Province, described TMIS platform as a milestone .

Head teachers and school data managers have since been trained on how to use the new digital platform and preliminary data has been recorded on the platform. The improvements that come with the digital platform should motivate teachers to work harder and deliver quality education.

Ali Hassan Ngamije, the Director of Education at Gatsibo District, says the new system will eventually impact the education sector more broadly. “There were many mistakes and delays associated with the manual system,” says Ali. “For instance, vacant positions will be detected in time and filled through the same platform immediately and in a transparent manner.”

In a way, TMIS is a direct response to Rose Nyiraneza’s early frustrations as a teacher. Teachers will no longer have to walk distances to seek transfer, they will just be applying online and concentrate on teaching as their application is processed,” adds a confident Ali.

“This is a bold move,” smiles Nkekabahizi. “It marks a paradigm shift. I would say it’s probably long overdue, but it’s a welcome development nonetheless because it’ll revolutionise education and the teaching profession.”