Baptist Church in Rwanda develops a compelling vision to transform their schools

[one_column]Since May 2015, Wellspring Foundation for Education has embarked on a new partnership with the Association of Baptist Church Schools in the Western Province.

AEBR started its missionary and educational activities in Rwanda since 1964. With more than 52 schools in the whole Country, the Association is regarded as one of the leading Christian Organizations involved in Education. But despite its impressive visibility, Baptist have not been as successful in making sure that quality education and Christian based values are consistently integrated in to the learning and the teaching. Hence the need for a strong partnership with Wellspring Foundation.

Through this partnership, Wellspring will provide technical, advisory and financial support to 22 AEBR schools in 4 districts of the Western Province: Nyabihu, Karongi, Rutsiro, and Rubavu. It is expected that AEBR master trainers will be empowered so that they can be able to deliver the Quality Education Programme into their schools. The Program is essentially composed of 8 Core Modules that Wellspring has been using in its Gasabo School Development Programme (SDP) since 2008. It includes key concepts like active participation, Teaching Aids, Values, Inclusive Education, Behavior Management, Cognitive Skills, Lesson Planning, and Group Work.

The programme will be implemented by AEBR trainers Anselme Masengesho and Cyprien Bunani under the supervision of AEBR Director of Education, Mr. Justin Uwubuntu. They will be equipped accordingly in order to help them adopt the required capacity, the perspective, the skill, the philosophy, and the culture that will allow them to bring sustainable change in their schools.

One of them, Anselme Masengesho, has taught and led in two of AEBR schools for up to 7 years. A father of 2 children, this middle-aged educator has been burdened by the painful conditions of their schools and the challenges related to quality that have been affecting their students for many years. This led him to eagerly apply for a trainer position to give his best to the Baptist schools. “We are very excited about this opportunity, he said. “After the years of struggles and a lack of innovative solutions, we are now confident that this partnership will increase professionalism in our schools and that teachers will love their jobs. As a Christian body, we especially expect to see Christian values integrated in our teaching and learning.

A deeper transformation

According to Wellspring Programme Director, Kirsten Mucyo, the expected impact is not only towards transformation and quality. “It is also expected that value-based Christian education will be integrated into these schools. Indeed one of the challenges with these schools has been the difficulty to have Christian values implemented and integrated into their culture and into their classrooms. So one of our key goals in this programme is to have Christian values integrated in a way that transforms the lives of the students towards dignity and integrity and in honoring God in their society. We also hope that this will enable the AEBR educational leadership to lead a process of change onwards”, said Kirsten.

Fostering ownership and sustainability

The partnership will be implemented in a sustainable way in order to foster ownership. As Kirsten put it, “the longer term goal is that they [AEBR educators] would then have the capacity to move things forward towards transformation across their network.”

It is encouraging to see the Baptist Churches lead the way among churches in Rwanda to ensure quality Christian education in their schools.  Wellspring hopes that this will be a model for other churches that will also help them to develop a vision for improving their schools.