It’s a cold Wednesday morning. Jovian Hirwa, 10, is busy searching about acids and bases using wireless internet on a laptop at Dove international school, Kigali City.
Nature of acids and bases was an assignment from his teacher–the work Hirwa is supposed to present to seven classmates on Thursday 28.
For the local curriculum, acids and bases are taught in secondary school under chemistry subject, different from the international curriculum that encourages children to have intellectual independence on several topics at early age.
At 10 years of age, Hirwa thinks ‘big’, and wants to be aerospace engineer in future.
Hirwa is among 127 students studying at Dove -an international school that offers Montessori international curriculum.
The school is located in the Prime land of Kimihurura sector, Gasabo district, adjacent to Kigali Convention Centre in a tranquil environment, the best for education.
Montessori curriculum is a child-centered learning framework that incorporates holistic learning outcomes based on child’s developmental needs and interest, guided by the teacher.
This curriculum (Montessori) covers lessons including practical life, Sensorial, Mathematics, English, French, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, among others.
For pupils to master what they are taught, all the lessons are supported by practical lessons and research using their computers, but also visiting computer laboratory during group discussions.
And in the end, each and every pupil will do a presentation in front of their classmates.
“I have been given an assignment on nature of acids and bases. For me to be a head of my fellow classmates, I will teach through presentations,” Hirwa told KT Press.
“This is how we conduct our lessons, we research on various topics, gather information and present it.”
According to Lise Humura, the School director, the school has 16 teachers, all certified in teaching Montessori curriculum.
“We admit pupils from 18 months. At this age, we start teaching them physical independence like dressing up, speaking, just to mention a few.”
To join secondary school across the globe, grade 6 pupils are examined by western chapter of the international society of arboriculture (ISA), also recognized by Montessori curriculum.
“From grade three to five also, candidates are examined twice a year by ISA while nursery is assessed by teachers who give parents a detailed report of how pupils are performing in class,” Humura said.
ISA awards international certificates to pupils, who are welcomed in any secondary school in the world.
According to Humura, school fees at Dove international school range from Rwf600, 000 to over Rwf1Milion, with registration of new students being at Rwf100, 000.
This curriculum originates from Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and education activist who discovered how children learn as they progress from birth to adulthood.
Dove International School is one among many international schools which are known to be relatively luxurious and best in quality.
Other schools offer Cambridge program, a British curriculum and international Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum from Switzerland.
It is the case of Green Hills academy, a prominent school that opened doors in Rwanda in 1997 and which has later on gained fame on Rwanda’s education scene.
Green hills offer Cambridge and international Baccalaureate program –one of the highly recognized certificates offered to students leaving high school to join universities across the globe.
This school that sits on 26 acres of land in Nyarutarama, Kigali city, started with 130 students. But the growing appetite for parents to have their children study in international curriculums soared. Today, the population has increased to 1550 students.
Green Hills Academy offers lessons in English, French and Kinyarwanda from nursery to middle class. They also have in offer the ‘50/50 program which aims at supporting bilinguals.
Students study for the Cambridge International Examinations, IGCSEs in Grades 9 and 10, and the IB Diploma Program in Grades 11 and 12”according to the schools’ website.
For Riviera High School, an International School, in Gasabo district, Kigali city, the award is an International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) or IB and Cambridge.
One of most known international schools in Rwanda’s education is Ecole Belge de Kigali. The school offers a Belgian curriculum, with many students coming from well to do families.
The Belgian founded school has levels from nursery to secondary. It is part of the association of Belgian schools abroad (AEBE).
Lisa Chyzij, an international teacher certified by Montessori and British curriculum told KT Press; “it is good for a student to have international skills through these curriculums because they develop critical thinking.”
Besides Primary and Secondary schools, international universities have also shown kin interest in opening doors in Rwanda.
International universities operating in Rwanda offer courses including medicine, business, engineering, information communication technology, among others.
These universities have charters. The certificate showing their full compliance with high education council (HEC) guidelines in Rwanda.
They include University of global healthy equity (UGHE).
UGHE was established this year with expectations of providing next generation of global leaders in health care delivery – similar to U.S.-based Harvard Medical School – which is a key partner.
The facility worth $150 million is a subsidiary of Partners in Health (PIH) – a global non-for-profit organization that provides health care to the most vulnerable people across the world, with operations in Rwanda.
UGHE offers Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) as its flagship academic program.
It is Modeled after a similar program at Harvard Medical School, the MGHD is a two-year, part-time program that provides one-of-a-kind learning experiences fundamentally rooted in the principles of global health, One Health, epidemiology, global health policy, management, finance, and leadership.
The MGHD curriculum uses innovative learning methodology and pedagogy to address complex challenges by investigating emerging delivery systems.
Other chartered international universities are, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that was established in 2011 to address the critical shortage of high-quality engineering talent required to accelerate development in Africa.
Today, CMU-Africa has educated over 300 students from 18 African countries with master’s degrees in Information Technology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.“These universities have been given charters because they have fully met high education requirements in their respective courses. They are well assessed and legitimately allowed to operate,”Dr Rose Mukankomeje, Executive Director for HEC said.
“Majority of other universities working locally have been provisionary licensed, meaning they have been accepted because they have some basics to start working, promised to fulfill all needs,” Mukankomeje said.
“The provisionary licensed universities are always monitored and asked to fulfill all the requirements for them to be chartered. This progress however goes slowly but steadily.”
High education council requirements for universities to be chartered include the number of lecturers, lecture rooms, laboratories, to mention but a few.
Other chartered universities are Oklahoma Christian University.
With its’ headquarters US, this university recognizes president and first lady Jeanette Kagame as honorary alumni having received doctorates from the main campus.