The ETSK administration, with the support of the Education Committee, has begun to implement a significant new education initiative, designed to catapult the school into the ranks of the top professional high schools in Rwanda. This includes:
IMPROVEMENT OF ENGLISH SKILLS
A key priority for economic development in Rwanda is the continuing transition from French to English speaking. It is also a key priority for ETSK that is now being supported by a number of important initiatives:
NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKING TEACHER AND COORDINATOR:
The Committee for Education Expansion (CEI) hires and supports a native-English-speaking teacher to coordinate its English programs. An American teacher, Peter Vleck, was our first outstanding volunteer for 2018, now followed by Alex Kloppers (pictured below). Alex is a native of S. Africa and Australia and is certified to teach the Cambridge University International English Program (IELTS).
TEACHER TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION:
Starting in 2019, all ETSK teachers will be required to attend intensive, paid English language training, including: an intensive one-week total immersion class; a monthly Saturday full-day class; and a Wednesday PM class – all conducted by Alex. The objective is to pass the IELTS exam with a 6.0 (the minimum standard for acceptance to an English graduate university program).
STUDENT LEARNING CENTER:
Alex runs this new center with the help of a former ETSK graduate assistant. The center is equipped with:
- All major textbooks requested by the teachers;
- Over 300 books that can be checked out by students;
- Internet service supporting laptop computers that can be utilized for student research projects;
- Rachael Online, a server and wireless hub with outstanding education content that feels like internet searching, but is much more focused, including 1,000,000 Wikipedia articles; 5000 Kahn Academy videos; 600 books; and numerous other resources.
- Tablet readers used primarily for accessing the Rachel database.
NEW TV ROOM:
Rather than discouraging TV viewing, we have decided to embrace it as one of the most effective ways of teaching English. The TV room allows teachers to show YouTube videos in their areas of study during class hours, as well as running English documentaries after class, and movies during the week-end.
Every class blackboard now has a white-painted center section that allows teachers to bring projectors to class and directly share YouTube videos or content from teacher computers. This a major time saver compared to writing everything on the blackboard.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY MOVIE NIGHTS:
The school dining hall is now equipped with a ceiling projector that plays English language movies (with English subtitles) twice every week – another opportunity to hear native English spoken.
Starting in 2019, only English speaking was allowed in all classrooms and the Student Learning Center. Starting in 2019, this will be extended to the dining hall and all common areas of ETSK, with the exception of dormitories, where the native Kenyarwanda will be permitted.
TRANSITION TO SELF-EDUCATION:
The current teaching system is for teachers to lecture and students to take notes and study only those notes. A new commitment to foster “Self-Learning” will include: how to ask questions; how to research using books and computers loaded with Wikipedia, Kahn Academy Videos, textbooks and general reading; how to use the new library; how to analyze; how to take initiative and be creative; and how to be entrepreneurial. To do this requires a firm commitment plus new educational resources not previously available.
EXPANSION OF SPORTS PROGRAMS
As part of the new initiative, even more emphasis is being put on daily organized sports to encourage all students to participate.
Meet the education committee members who are making a difference
The Committee for Education Expansion was started in Feb. 2017 and has already made great strides in organizing and financing the expansion of education programs at ETSK.
Giuseppe is a medical doctor with specializations in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery from the University of Parma. From 1986 to 1990 he worked as a war surgeon for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs first in Pakistan and then in Zaire (now Congo-RDC). After a specialization in Health Management at Bocconi University in Milan and an interlude working for Italian NGO AISPO, Giuseppe was Health Program Coordinator in Rwanda, Somalia, Niger, Congo-Brazzaville, China, Syria, and Vietnam under different International Organizations. From 2004 to 2012 he worked as Health Program Coordinator for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs first in Uganda and then in Mozambique. He is currently consulting for Health Programs in Nepal, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. Most of Giuseppe’s work involved an emergency, rehabilitation and development projects mainly in the Health Sector, which includes hospital management, district health management, health financing, decentralization policy, and teaching. He also published several articles in scientific journals.
Our new school manager, Jeannette will be the person most responsible for implementing all new initiatives at ETSK. Jeannette is a graduate in clinical psychology from the University of Kibungo in eastern Rwanda and is a member of the Rwanda Association of Trauma Counselors. After the genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, she worked with the women and orphan survivors of the genocide helping with their psychological care. She was Regional Coordinator of the Association of Widows of the Genocide Agahozo (AVEGA) for five years, coordinating psycho-economic activities. Jeannette was the past president of ETSK’s parent organization, the Hameau des Jeunes Saint Kizito, which helps vulnerable and abandoned children from the local area. Jeannette is also a member of the Association for Community Development through Communication, which works in the eastern part of the country and runs a community radio station.
Born in 1962 in Milan, Italy, Massimo is an educator, play writer, and lover of clowns and comedy theatre. After receiving a degree in education in 1997, he authored the book “Somersaults Among the Stars,” the tale of a smile and the Barabba’s Clowns, to which he has devoted his life. He has been a teacher at the Salesian Center in Arese, Italy, since the age of 23. And, with his wife, Angela, he worked with troubled children at the “Viletta” in Arese. In 1995 he met Father Hermann Schulz, a missionary in Rwanda, and worked with him to rebuild the orphanage, Hameau des Jeunes, that was virtually destroyed during the 1994 Rwandan civil war. Massimo founded the Barabba’s Clowns Association in 1996 and has used it every year to raise funds for the Hameau and to provide opportunities and character development to the youth of the village, as well as support for families in the surrounding hills. Massimo also coordinates regional theatrical productions and, with Barabba’s Clowns, continues to work with troubled young people to bring out their smiles. Massimo has been instrumental in raising funds for the Hameau and the ETSK school, as well as overseeing their administration.
Rick is an entrepreneur and graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and the Columbia University MBA program in New York City. He and his wife Sue Sawyer were involved in two medical products companies, Jay Medical and RIK Medical in Boulder CO. Also an inventor, Rick holds over 20 U.S. and international patents, including a bicycle saddle soon to be commercialized by Trek. Rick is fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish. He currently runs JARIK Medical, a non-profit he started to help provide 25,000 wheelchair cushions each year to people in developing countries. And he is chairman of the board of Brock USA, a Boulder-based company, run by two of his sons, Dan and Steve. Rick is sharing his management and planning experience with Alexia and the staff at ETSK, starting with the building of the 2017 annual plan, then proceeding to a 3-year strategic plan.
Laura is a psychologist and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist from Piacenza, Italy. She owns a psychotherapy practice and works as a psychologist supervisor in educational communities for deprived youth. Beforehand, Laura worked at the Department of Medical Psychology at San Raffele Hospital in Milan, treating patients with AIDS and depressive disorders. She is fluent in French and English and lived for two years in a remote Congo Democratic Republic village contributing to an initiative on women’s literacy and family planning. Laura met Father Hermann Schulz in Rwanda in 1981and has remained in contact ever since. She helped to support Alexia Nkurunziza, present Director of HJSK, while Alexia was studying at Piacenza university. Laura’s happy to share her experience and skills with the Musha school and community.
Our past ETSK school manager, Alexia is now director of the parent organization: Hameau Des Jeunes (Youth Village). She is also in charge of government relations. Alexia herself is an orphaned survivor of the genocide, having had the fortune of being brought to Italy by Fr. H. Schulz, founder of the ETSK. Giuseppe Braghieri and his wife, Laura, members of the Committee for Education Expansion, helped support Alexia through her college education in Italy. Following graduation, Alexia returned to Rwanda to help Father Hermann run the Youth Village, then taking over the administration of the ETSK Technical School in 2008. Alexia has an impressive resume for this job, including a degree from Catholic University of Piacenza, Italy, and attendance at education seminars around the world. She is currently studying every week-end for a Master’s in Business Administration.
Sue is a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder CO, with majors in sociology and psychology. She worked as a real estate broker and investor before serving as Vice President of both Jay Medical and RIK Medical. She and her husband Rick Jay, have been residing in Italy since 2002 and together have three children and six grandchildren. Sue hopes to share her organization and language skills with the ETSK school and staff.