Outstanding students, teachers upbeat after winning Siyavula competition

On 30 August 2021 at 01:35

A total of 40 teachers and students who won prizes in the June Siyavula Schools Maths League competition have expressed delight for receiving prizes as a motivation to maintain outstanding performance. Siyavula, an educational technology company headquartered in South Africa, partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to launch its product in Rwanda in 2020.

Siyavula is a digital platform for S1 - S4 students studying Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The platform allows students to practise what they are learning in class, immediately marking their answers and showing step-by-step solutions. This helps students see where they may be going wrong.

Since launching in Rwanda, Siyavula has run regular competitions to award outstanding teachers and students for the work they have done on the platform. Prizes have included smartphones, airtime, and laptops.

The latest competition, held in June 2021, brought together 24,138 students from different schools across the country. There are more than 600 teachers signed up to the Siyavula platform in Rwanda, and they were also encouraged to take part in the competition.

Students who emerged among winners of the competition have revealed that it was an opportunity to weigh their performance in comparison to other students countrywide.

“I was very excited to emerge among the winners of the competition. It helped me to become self-confident and allayed fears I had before entering the competition,” said Elissa Nshuti Rumanzi, a senior four student from Kagarama Secondary School .

Sandrine Uwamahoro, another student from Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux, commended Siyavula for making life easy.

“Siyavula is very helpful during course revision because regular exercising helps me to be familiar with other assignments. I recently obtained excellent grades in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics during exams and owe the performance to Siyavula in no small part,” she said.

Teachers speak out

Jérémie Habumugisha, who teaches mathematics at College du Christ Roi, emerged as the top teacher for the competition. He explained that he joined the competition to inspire students to develop an interest in Mathematics, and to assess their performance at national level.

“I wanted my school to earn a reputation and encourage students to be passionate about Mathematics by introducing the competition to them,” he noted.

College du Christ-Roi emerged the best overall school and walked away with a laptop as the grand prize, while outstanding teachers were awarded with smartphones.

Martin Habumugisha, another teacher of Mathematics from the same school also revealed that Siyavula exercises helps students to understand courses better and instills self-confidence.

“Siyavula has built confidence among students, where they can gauge their level of understanding without teachers’ presence,” he said.

Nicodème Usanase, another winning teacher from Groupe Scolaire Paysannat, said that Siyavula motivates students to use technology and gain a deeper understanding of Mathematics.

Usanase revealed that he created a WhatsApp group to bring together educators from all districts of the country and show them the benefits of the Siyavula platform, and encourage them to embrace it.

Like his colleagues, Frederic Uwizeyimana, a teacher of Mathematics at Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux, said that the platform came in handy to facilitate course revision, but he highlighted that the internet is still a challenge hindering them to fully embrace the technology.

“These exercises on Siyavula platform require fast internet but ours is sometimes slow, and we do not have enough computers connected to the internet. We would be most grateful if concerned stakeholders could increase the number of computers connected to the internet to make learning easier,” he said.

The Siyavula team worked with 10 schools in a pilot schools programme, from January to the end of June 2021. These schools were assigned a local in-country Siyavula Ambassador to help them integrate Siyavula into their classrooms.

The schools that participated in the pilot school programme were:

King David Academy

College Saint Andre

GS Juru

GS Kigali

GS Mwendo

GS Duha

Lycee Notre dame de Citeaux

GS Nsanag

ES Rokomo (SOPEM)

GS Bumba

During a visit held at King David Academy on 29th April 2021, the company’s management said that it would like to see its platform used across all schools in Rwanda. The platform, which has been endorsed by the Rwanda Basic Education Board, is currently freely available to all S1-S4 students, and teachers.

“We have faced several challenges to introduce the technology as many schools don’t have internet while others have inadequate computers. That is why we started with a select group of schools and others with adequate resources. Since October last year, we have seen a total of 1,138, 825 questions answered on our platform.

Teachers are also encouraged to sign up and register for a free account and to incorporate Siyavula in their day-to-day teaching. We are also excited to share that REB have provided us with a letter of endorsement, encouraging schools and teachers to take advantage of our Edtech solution. We would love to see Siyavula rolled out in all schools in Rwanda,” explained Chiara Walsh, the Project Manager at Siyavula Rwanda.

Students or teachers interested to learn about Siyavula can reach out to the company on the provided phone number: 0789 068 321.

François Iradukunda (right) represented Siyavula at the handover of prizes to the best performing teacher.
Uwizeyimana (left) was the overall best winner.
Uwizeyimana walked away with a smartphone and calculators.