Busigari’s Dedication to Quality Education
“Who knows the answer?”, asks Bolingo, a teacher multiplier. As hands shoot up to the sky, he can’t help but smile with pride at his eager students. With praise and encouragement, he leads the class in a cheer of “flowers, flowers, ahhhhh” to celebrate the brave student who shared her answer with the class.
Walking down the stretch of classrooms to encourage students and teachers, Headteacher Japhet hears the upbeat rhythm of clapping, the tap-tap-tapping of little stones on wooden desks during a math lesson, and the jubilant melodies of song as students engage in their lesson and enjoy the reward of a job well done.
This is Busigari School, a vibrant school community with a team of passionate leaders, teachers, and parents who are dedicated to their students’ learning and are leading them with energy and excellence. The school is made up of 33 empowered staff who teach pre-primary and primary students in their most critical years, invested parents who go to great lengths to see their children learn and thrive, and the 1,775 children reaping the benefits.
While Busigari is thriving, it hasn’t always been this way, and the school continues to face many challenges to education. It is set within the rural Rubavu District where barriers to education are prevalent and rampant. Issues of dropout, high rates of poverty, deep-seated beliefs about girls’ education and early marriage plague the Rubavu District and threaten the learning of Busigari’s students—and have only been exacerbated by months of school closures. But these barriers stand no chance against the leaders, teachers, and parents of Busigari who fight for the right of every child to quality education, and our dedicated Monthly School Partners who consistently walk with the Busigari School Community.
A Dedication to Transformation
When we started working with Headteacher Japhet back in 2017, he struggled to grasp principles of Wellspring training. Prior to training, he led his school single-handedly, without any input from staff or desire to listen and learn.
It was during the course of Wellspring training that he watched his leadership style transform as he began listening and building trust and togetherness with his staff. As he learned what it meant to be a Servant Leader, he became one himself. His school culture transformed for the better as a result:
“I was not a leader that was praising my teachers’ strengths, I focused mostly my leadership style on their mistakes and their weaknesses. I did not consider what they did well. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I should learn to share ideas with the teachers and take into account their point of view. This is now evident in their reports and I have gone ahead to delegate one of the teacher multipliers to take charge of some of the responsibilities of the school. Everyone feels empowered!”
A Dedication to Quality Education
One empowered teacher multiplier is Bolingo, who, through Wellspring training and the support of Headteacher Japhet, now uses teaching techniques to better involve and encourage his students. He was confused and discouraged by students’ poor performance, their inability to understand concepts, and lack of engagement in the classroom. He soon realized why after receiving Wellspring training.
“After being trained by Wellspring, I learned to teach with a learner-centered approach. I know now the importance of the learner being at the center of learning. During the training, I learned how to involve all learners in the classroom through active participation and the development of learners’ thinking levels. My style of teaching shifted to attending to every learner and making sure to check on each and every one of them during the lesson. This improved every learner’s contribution and performance in my classroom.”
Bolingo went from being unable to engage his students and using out-dated disciplinary methods to encouraging active participation through questions and teaching aids and rewarding positive behaviour with games and songs. His students used to skip class, perform poorly on exams, and not know how to answer questions. Now they are all present in the classroom, engaged and eager to share their answers with the class, and are grasping lesson concepts (their test scores can prove it)!
It Takes a Dedicated Community
While students within the classroom are being cared for by their teachers, the school’s parent community has been just as eager and dedicated to seeing their children receive a quality education. Laurent, Chairperson of Busigari’s School General Assembly Committee (SGAC) shared the lengths to which the parent community have gone to support their childrens’ learning, especially during the time of school closures:
“As a community, we felt motivated by Wellspring to encourage parents during the pandemic lockdown to support children in learning. We have had over seventy cases of probable school dropout and as a member of the parents committee, I have encouraged parents on their role in their children’s education and fifty nine students came back to school. [Using our training in ABCD], we started up an initiative of gathering contributions to assist some students who can not afford school uniforms and school materials. As a community, we came together and made it a priority to buy school uniforms for these students and send them back to school with school materials.”
As Chairperson of the SGAC, he is encouraged by the efforts of fellow parents and their commitment to quality education: “I am proud of the work the parents are doing. We have seen them try so hard to understand their role in the teaching and learning process of their children.”
Will you join?
Through the training and consistent support of Wellspring’s monthly donors, Busigari school is flourishing and has seen the dream of quality education become a reality. Teachers are supported and encouraged, students are engaged in their learning, and parents are prioritizing the education of their children—all because you are investing in quality education!
And while this school is flourishing, it still needs your support.
Like many other schools in Rwanda and around the world, Busigari has been experiencing a number of challenges as a result of the pandemic. Upon school reopening, many students did not return, and those who did had forgotten all they had learned before. The teachers were eager to revisit subjects to refresh the memories of their students before building on concepts and teaching new lessons, and parents eager to bring back those remaining students.
Headteacher Japhet shared with us:
“As a leader, my biggest struggle right now has to do with the number of unqualified newly recruited teachers who need training. And I think the biggest challenge we are facing as a school is the number of teachers who do not know English as a language of instruction and this causes difficulty in teaching.”
This June 2021, we’re connecting new monthly partners with Busigari school. When you sign up as a School Partner for as little as $15/month, you are standing with Busigari school as they push through these challenges to reclaim those lost months of learning and equip new teachers to provide the best education they can to their students. It is only through the generous and ongoing support of our monthly partners that schools like Busigari can tackle the challenges they face to meet every child with a quality education.
Thank you for your dedication to Busigari’s students and for partnering with their school community towards greater transformation.
Will you support Busigari school?