18 July 2014

Rwanda: New Electronic System to Ease Management of Teachers Data

Management of information related to primary and secondary school teachers will no longer be a challenge following the launch of an electronic system.

The online based programme, that took about four years to develop, will handle information related to appointment, licensing, evaluation, grading, dismissing, as well as remuneration of teachers.

"We have been using a paper based system that was not only leaving room for error, but also making data search slow," Damian Ntaganzwa, the Rwanda Education Board (Reb) Deputy Director General in charge of Teachers Management, said at the launch of the software in Kigali on Thursday.

He observed that the system will also help appraise and grade teachers depending on professional experience.

"This system will bear a teacher's profile, as well as information ranging from day of appointment to the time of retirement," Ntaganzwa said.

He said about 30 human resource management officers and 30 district education officers have been trained on its use.

He said the system will ensure effective evaluation of performance of teachers since much of the information provided will be accurate to inform decision makers on promotions or disciplinary measures.

About 60,000 primary and secondary school teachers are to be covered by the system countrywide.

This, according to Ntaganzwa, will help save money that was being spent on paper and transport.

He noted that with this programme, physical movements to get information on a particular teacher, will no longer be necessary since one only needs a computer and internet.

"With this software we shall also be able to know whether teachers were paid, or whether salaries delayed and take necessary measures."

John Wood, the Director and Principal Consultant of Education for Change, a UK-based firm that developed the software said it cost about $150,000 (Rwf102m).

Solomon Habinshuti, a teacher information management system officer at Reb, said the new software would make it easy to establish the number of teachers close to retirement age, thus enabling timely planning for replacement.

He observed that it will also be easier to avail teacher training programmes since the number of teachers and their respective subjects will be outlined in the system.

"Crafting a financial budget for teachers will be easier since the exact number of teachers countrywide will be in the system," Habinshuti added.

Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Education, commended Unicef and other partners for facilitating the project, saying it is in line with the ministry's strategic plan of availing qualified and highly motivated teachers for the country.

"Using ICT tools to facilitate information flow has always been our target," he noted.

Aline Uwiwe, a teacher mentor based in Rubavu District said the new system would help reduce bureaucracy.

"Before claiming salary arrears, for example, one had to go through the head teachers, sector and district education offices for clearance first. But this electronic system will avail a short cut."

Uwiwe added that in case someone lost their academic documents, their work may not be interrupted as there is always an electronic version in the data base.

"It will be hard for teachers seeking jobs to lie about working experience, since there will be a quick online system to prove so," she said.

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