It was revealed recently as the University of Rwanda (UR) released findings of research that aimed at harmonizing the relevance of education programs contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on challenges and lessons drawn from COVID-19.
The research was carried out between December 2020 and September 2021 with emphasis on lessons learnt from COVID-19 and what should be done to make education more efficient to SDGs. It also assessed the impact of radio sets in helping children to learn during trying times of COVID-19.
Through Transforming Education Systems for Sustainable Futures (TESF) - a United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded project- the College of Education (CE)- University of Rwanda initially secured funds to procure solar powered radio sets to support children from poor and vulnerable families who were not been able to follow lessons broadcasted on Radio and Televisions.
The funding saw 2467 solar powered radios sets distributed in 7 districts of the country towards the end of 2020. Targeted districts include Kirehe, Kayonza, Rusizi, Rutsiro, Gisagara, Nyaruguru and Gicumbi.
Beneficiaries attest that these radio sets helped children to stand against delinquency, remained concentrated on courses while parents also accessed information and benefited from other broadcasted edu-taining radio programs.
“We used to tune in radio programs using our phones which children would not access when away from home. After receiving radio sets, children concentrated on studies without disruptions. We also assisted them that their performance improved significantly as they returned to school. Those who would obtain 60 percent saw their grades increasing to 80%,” said Emmanuel Dushimimana from Nyakarenzo sector in Rusizi district.
Sarah Uzayisenga is another parent from Kibirizi sector in Gisagara district who commended the support that came in handy.
“Children had started dragging themselves into delinquency. The received radio set helped children to stay updated on courses and performed well as schools resumed. We thank the University of Rwanda for the great support extended to us and our children,” she said.
Dr. Michel Rwibasira, the lead researcher and lecturer at the University of Rwanda said that the program bore fruits and made recommendations for needed improvements.
“The donation of radio sets helped children to stay updated and revise studies and returned to schools without losing their footing. However, there are challenges where illiterate parents could not assist children while others did not give it the attention it deserves,” he revealed.
Dr. Rwibasira called for strong collaboration between all stakeholders to promote quality of education.
Innocent Hategekimana, the Communication Officer at Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) thanked UR for its contribution to provide solutions entrenched on research.
He underscored that technology has played a significant role to deliver courses during challenging times and urged students to tap into available opportunities.
Education is one of pillars of SDGs that seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.