Rwandan teachers are facing the problem of limited knowledge about Genocide and for that reason some teachers jump the Genocide Subject to avoid committing explanations errors that can lead them into jail, this website has established.
The latest overhaul of Rwanda’s curriculum, introduced in 2016, makes genocide studies a cross-disciplinary subject, meaning it is not only taught in history classes but can be introduced as a topic of discussion in other subjects.
It also highlights the use of critical thinking.
However, TOPAFRICANEWS.COM met Celestin Munyandekwe, a Social Studies tutor at TTC Kirambo and discussed with him how the Genocide studies are taught in schools and what challenges a Teacher faces during a Genocide Study class.
Celestin Munyandekwe, is a Social Studies tutor at TTC Kirambo in Burera District of the Northern province of Rwanda.
He is one of the learners selected by AEGIS Trust to participate in a short course on “Genocide and Mass atrocities” which is taking place at Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre’s Peace School.
In twenty minutes Interview, Munyandekwe told this website’s reporter that teachers are giving what they know about Genocide especially those who have taken History in their academic studies in Universities but “it is still a challenge to teachers who didn’t take History.”
He said that Genocide studies is a cross cutting issue which has to be taught by all teachers in all domains and it is difficult for teachers who have taken other subjects like Mathematics, physics to talk about Genocide.
“Inevitably students ask questions about Genocide Causes, roots and to this point some teachers are not able to explain or to give good answers to students.”
“Most challenges that really teachers are facing when giving lessons on Genocide are that they have limited information about Genocide.
“Some teachers have studied subjects which are far from history, there are some young people being recruited in teaching but have little information about Genocide,
“Even though they can study the history of Rwanda, because Genocide is a sensitive issue, some teachers do not like to talk about it too much.
“Because some time they can talk about history and give bad explanation or sometime their explanations are wrongly interpreted by students and this can be a crime. That’s one of the causes of not talking too much about it. They don’t want to go deep because of that limited knowledge” Munyandekwe explains
“In most cases when they are talking about the issue of Genocide, students are asking many questions, especially they want to know the origin of the Genocide, the causes; now teachers need to know the background. They need to know the history of Rwanda, from colonial era, pre-colonial period and post-colonial period.” He added
The New Rwanda Education curriculum on Genocide studies requires all teachers in all subjects to teach about it, as Munyandekwe explains
“In most cases when a student asks a question about Genocide, some teachers are not able to explain,”
“As a wish, teachers assigned to teach about Genocide have to be trained.
“If they are teaching they have to be knowledgeable than students. They have to be at the level of explaining what the students need”, He said
What is really needed is that teachers have to be embedded in Genocide History, Study it and teach it, otherwise they cannot match with what the Government of Rwanda needs.
Coming to the AEGIS Trust training, Munyandekwe is expecting that at the end of this course he will be in a good position to respond to all questions related to the Genocide.
“One day a student asked me if they kill only ten, all stages of the Genocide have been gone through and they kill ten people. Is it Genocide?”
“But here according to an explanation they said that the number does not matter. If you have prepared even though you can kill one person that is Genocide.”
He further added that “I am expecting to get more knowledge on Genocide and mass atrocities and I will be able to explain to my students, everything about it.
“What really pushed me to apply for this course is that “As a teacher, a good Teacher is a good learner. As I am a teacher I want to keep learning, broadening my mind,
“I am one teacher, teaching 50 students, who can have for example if every student asks two questions I can be able to answer a 100 Questions.” He concluded