The Ministry of education has changed the method of providing schools with headteachers, a move that intends to improve the quality of education.
This time, the ministry will appoint experienced teachers in leadership positions rather than merely basing on recruitment examination results or academic qualifications.
Appointing head and deputy headteachers for public primary, secondary and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TEVT) schools will start during the academic year 2020/2021.
“Sitting for school leaders recruitment exams as a basis of appointing head and deputy headteachers at schools are not enough, but the performance and experience of a teacher can do. Someone can come from the university and pass exams, depending on the exam, but remember this is a leadership position that needs experience,” Edward Kabare, headteacher of Nyagatare secondary school said.
“The exams can be too academic and fresh graduates can pass them easily than long-serving teachers, but this is a leadership position that needs experience at school. If the appointment system is to be done by the committee effectively, it can be the solution.”
According to the new teachers’ statute n°, 10 of 16/03/2020, head or deputy headteachers at the country level will be appointed by a committee that is composed of experts from the ministry of education and the City of Kigali or the district authorities.
The instructions of the minister in charge of education determine modalities for the appointment of head or deputy headteachers and the appointing committee.
The Headteacher is appointed when he or she fulfills the requirements including being in the teaching profession for at least nine years, outstanding professional ethics, and integrity.
Other requirements cited in the official teacher’s statute (n° 10 of 16/03/2020) are having outstanding performance records and the second category of teachers in the respective level of formal education.
“A fresh graduate can pass job examination, but will not give him/her clear information and experience of what happens at school. The worry is how the committee will do their work to be effective, but appointment system is the best way to go,” Bertin Murabukirwa, headteacher of Rwimiyaga, primary and secondary schools in Nyagatare, the eastern province said.
“The appointments will solve wrong promotion problems if it is done properly,” Murabukirwa said.
On 25, August 2020 the Rwanda Education Board (REB) announced 975 positions for school leaders in primary, secondary, and TEVTs for the academic year 2020/2021.
According to REB, professional experienced willing teachers should fulfill the requirements including five years of experience, an outstanding performance from the former school leaders and integrity, and outstanding professional ethics.
“At first it was allowed to head a school after passing job examination, regardless of the experience. However fresh graduates who are given these leadership positions have wanting skills like experience in school management,” Tusiime Angelique, Deputy Director-General of REB said.
According to the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) school leaders need support to master their new roles and responsibilities.
UNESCO says school leaders’ salaries are typically higher than those of school teachers. But, in general, the small salary difference does not reflect the school leaders’ workload.
“Governments should make school leadership a priority in the education development agenda, establish appropriate institutional and policy frameworks for effective school leadership development and professionalize school leadership career and make it more attractive,” the UNESCO research document reads.
“The government should set up viable systems of information, networking, and research on school leadership.”