During this last month of the project, we had the pleasure of having the Wehubit programme team joining us for a visit to LYCEE ST MARCEL DE RUKARA , a mixed secondary school located in Rukara sector, a semi-urban part of Kayonza district.
How father Jean got into coding
Visitors Arnaud Leclercq (Wehubit manager), Emilienne Umuraza (Enabel Rwanda), Innocent Ntaganda (Kayonza District Director of Education) and the rest of the VVOB Scratc²h team were warmly greeted at LYCEE ST MARCEL by headteacher Father Jean Uwizeye. Father Jean Uwizeye joined LYCEE ST MARCEL in the last year. Back then, he was astonished to find a Scratch coding club in place at the school where boys and girls where programming the most impressive projects, ranging from calculators to biology projects to games. “When I went to the coding club for the first time, I made two important observations: first, I noticed the enormous motivation and enthusiasm of the learners. If we let them, the learners would code all day and all night. My second observation was that the learners can do stuff, the teachers don’t know how to do. That is why I decided to support and encourage the teachers to be confident facilitators of the learning process rather than instructing programming itself.”
Nurturing young Rwandans to pursue their interests and dreams
Father Jean indeed sees a vital role for teachers in nurturing the ideation process that precedes the actual coding. In this phase learners discover more about themselves, their interest and even their deepest aspirations. Father Jean Uwizeye tells the story of a student Abayisenga Eduige. “She developed a game on gender-based violence. During this process she found out that she is really interested in psychology and wants to go to university to study this subject further” Father Jean Uwizeye said.
Inspired by Rwandan Tech companies
After this interesting conversation, Father Jean and his teachers wanted to show the visitors from Enabel first-hand how much enthusiasm the learners in the coding club have. The learners were eager to showcase their projects and the motivation behind them.
King Moses’s project is about technology advancement in Rwanda. He was inspired to start his project following an exposure visit to Kigali to visit Rwandan Technology companies. The aim of these exposure visits is to link the curriculum to the world of work, to demonstrate the potential of coding skills in today’s tech companies, and to trigger students’ curiosity for a career in ICT and more. These exposure visits offer a practical opportunity for learners and teachers to understand why coding skills are important in today’s digital economy, and how such skills can be used. One of the companies visited by the learners in May was Andela, a global job placement network for software developers. “When I went to Kigali to the exposure visit, I got to know the company Andela. Their story was very inspiring and made me believe I can be a coder.’ King Moses says.
To be continued
Wrapping up the day, Arnaud from Wehubit concluded: “The Scratc2h 2050 project is a success story. A key factor for this success is the combination of a strong public partner (Rwanda Basic Education Board), a strong implementing partner (VVOB) and a thoughtful methodology.”
“The future will show how we can use these lessons learnt and key success factors beyond the borders of Kayonza – the district of innovation and opportunities,” said District Director of Education Innocent Ntaganda. And after this fruitful and revealing day in Kayonza district, we are convinced that he’s right.
Group picture at LYCEE ST MARCEL (father Jean in the middle) ©VVOB
Arnaud Leclercq (Wehubit, Enabel) and curious students of the coding club ©VVOB