Rwanda: Is Homeschooling Feasible for Rwandan Children?

Rwanda: Is Homeschooling Feasible for Rwandan Children?

The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need to adopt homeschooling in Rwanda, at least for children whose parents can afford it.

This is the proposal that is widely being promoted by lawmakers and a section of other Rwandans.

Last week, during a plenary sitting that adopted the law governing education in Rwanda, Members of Parliament proposed the integration of homeschooling in the country’s education system.

Speaking to The New Times, Mutesi Gasana, a parent and founder of Arise Education, a firm which deals in selling and publishing books, welcomed the proposal by the MP’s.

Given that parents are now worried about the safety of their children at schools because of the Covid-19 outbreak, she says, homeschooling is a handy option for learners.

The laws in Rwanda don’t provide for homeschooling yet it is an established learning option in some countries in the world, Mutesi says.

Indeed, homeschooling is legal in many countries.

Countries where homeschooling has been widely adopted in the world include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“I think that planning how children can learn through homeschooling is a good solution which is long overdue,” Mutesi said.

Yet for it to be properly implemented, experts in the education sector argue that there must be effective academic resources and curricula to help children and parents alike.

Experts have also said that it’s important to have proper ways to assess the children’s performance through examinations.

Mutesi said she has been using academic resources from Cambridge to teach her child who has now completed secondary school education.

She disclosed that her child – who has been studying physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, used to do her examinations from the British Council in Rwanda.

To her, among other benefits, homeschooling enables a smart child to move fast in lessons because they are not dragged back by others who learn at a slow pace.

She adds that the arrangement also helps parent to easily make career guidance for their children because the learners’ subject of interest can be detected at an early age.

It also increases discipline and bonding between the children and the parents, she noted.

According to Leo Mugabe, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education, homeschooling is done when parents have the means to teach their children in home settings.

He indicated that if a parent had qualification and access to programmes, curriculum from the Government, books to use as well as time to dedicate for the education of their child, it would be possible.

In Kigali, some parents pay teachers for evening classes for their children to supplement their learning in schools.

Mugabe added that some private schools, especially international ones, have started uploading courses online such that children who have access to computers and the internet at home can follow them.

“This (homeschooling) is one of the alternatives that can be used to provide knowledge to students without meeting the teacher in a classroom (at school),” he said.

MP John Ruku-Rwabyoma said that home study option for children should be available in Rwanda, adding that examination process should also be determined.

“A parent can decide to teach their child at home, and they will be tested in different grades … There should be homeschooling element and certification,” he said.

MP Marie Médiatrice Izabiliza said that the experience observed in about nine months since Covid-19 pandemic spread to Rwanda when children have been at home because of the pandemic, shows that homeschooling could be an option to the formal education approach in schools.

“In developed countries, there are children who study from home. They follow programmes, and they do exams and advance to the next class [level] once they pass them,” she said, adding that there are parents who have been trying such a system in Rwanda during Covid-19 period.