Days 14 and 15: Back to School, Back to School...
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
For Monday and Tuesday of our Rwandan journey we broke up into smaller groups and spent the majority of the days in the schools we had visited on Friday. In the secondary schools the students smiled and said hi, but they were more reserved and stereotypically teenagers. In mixed primary and secondary schools though, we were swarmed by students! They all wanted a hi five and to know our names. They were enthralled by our hair - I have never had so many people touch my hair in one day! The students were so smiley and energetic, you couldn't help but be happy with them. However, after some time of feeling like we were in a mosh pit, it was a bit of a relief that students had to go back to class to write exams...even the little ones! Teachers also came out with sticks to get students to give us room...it was effective, but certainly not my preferred method of getting students to listen!
In those moments where the students had exams to write we sat with the headmaster of the school and we learned about the new competency based Rwandan curriculum, discipline practices (don't cheat at some schools in Kigali or else you will be suspended for a whole year!), and challenges they face in the aftermath of the genocide (one student brought in a box cutter and threatened his fellow classmates who were not the same ethnicity as him). There is a huge emphasis in the school system on promoting uniformity, a United Rwanda....understandably. All students wore uniforms, even in public schools, and all students (even females) had to keep their hair extremely short. On exams they wrote about factors that threaten their society and individuality was one of those factors. After visiting the Genocide Museum, it was eye opening to see the aftermath reflected in the education system.
Murakoze to all of the schools who hosted us this past week! It was an absolute pleasure!!