Tutors’ perceptions about science curriculum reforms and challenges for their implementation in Teacher Training Colleges in Rwanda
This paper reports science tutors’ perceptions about science curriculum reforms occurred in Rwanda from 1996 to 2013 in Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs). It also highlights their perceptions about challenges and factors for effective implementation of Integrated Science Curriculum (ISC). Data for the study were collected from 26 science tutors teaching ISC in 11 TTCs from 4 provinces using questionnaires and structured interviews. Results showed that a slim majority of science tutors were not resistant to curriculum reform. Even if most of the science tutors were confident while teaching most of the topics in ISC, they have experienced some difficulties in teaching physics and cross-cutting domains related topics as well as practical activities. Other identified challenges include lack of qualified tutors to teach ISC in TTCs, insufficient contact hours allocated to ISC topics, tutors’ heavy workload, lack of sufficient science laboratory equipment and materials. In addition to TTC libraries that are not well equipped, lack of textbooks and teacher’s guides, as well as lack of in-service tutors’ training, were stressed to be some of the challenges. Even if it was found that most competencies, skills, knowledge and attitudes gained by student-teachers after completing ISC were highly rated by science tutors, communication skills and problem-solving skills that are claimed to be important skills needed by graduates of science in the workplaces were poorly rated. The recommended strategies to overcome the identified challenges include active involvement of TTCs’ science tutors in designing and development of ISC. Moreover, all TTCs should be provided with qualified science tutors to teach ISC. Training for in-service science tutors, recruitment of qualified tutors, and provision of adequate facilities, libraries and well-equipped science laboratories for all TTCs are also recommended.
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