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The role of a school Psychologist in Rwandan Education System

Posted March 5, 2015
PIASS organized a workshop for the purpose of raising awareness of educational policymakers, practitioners and other educational stakeholders about the role of school psychologist. The workshop gathered different practitioners, educational policy makers, researchers and other educational stakeholders including Rwanda Education Board, Ministry of education, University of Rwanda: college of education, Rwanda bureau of protestant education, head teachers and directors of education in different churches.

Prof Jean Pierre DUSINGIZEMUNGU and Prof Laurent NKUSI and Vice Chancellor during the workshop

During the workshop, especially through presentations of Prof Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu and Prof Innocent Nkundabatware as well as the contributions of participants, the need of school psychologist in Rwandan schools was presented as the urgent necessity for the quality education we are striving for. During his presentation, Prof Jean Pierre indicated that psychologists were trained but not used for the purpose for which they had been trained. The challenge that was raised especially by head teachers, is the limited competences in terms of helping children with different emotional, social and learning difficulties including but not limited to traumatized due to consequences of genocide, domestic violence and abuse; talented and gifted children as well as underachievers; complicated behavioral problems in schools (drug abuse, aggressiveness, etc), drop out, etc.
During the discussion in different groups, all participants agreed that school psychologists are necessary in Rwandan schools. The recognition of the position and competences of school psychologists in schools will enable the country to train people for sustainable development.
The following are the recommendations issued by participants to educational stakeholders:
Policy makers
  • To order a comprehensive study on the need of school Psychologists
  • To organize the multi-stakeholders forum to discuss the main findings and recommendations
  • To integrate the school psychologist concern in the review of education strategic plan
  • To encourage higher institutions to make  a pilot actions concerning school psychologist services and draw lessons from it
Higher Education Institutions
  • To carry out researches on educational behavioral and learning problems faced by the learners, teachers and school administrators
  • To develop a barometer to regularly identify problems and efficient solutions.
  • To provide enough skilled psychologists able to deal with specific problems in schools
  • To be encouraged  to get training programs accredited by International Association of School Psychology
  • To organize debates on school psychologists related issues.
  • To propose a scientific document showing damages caused by the lack of school psychologists and their importance in quality of Education
  • To coach the BNEP, SNEC and other church based organizations and school owners in pilot projects where the school psychologists involved.  
  • To organize workshop in Kigali to aware the need of the school psychologists to the policymakers.
Trained Psychologists
  • To encourage them to make a national professional association and develop homegrown solutions. 
General recommendation
  • To take advantage of the Innovation for Education scheme of the MINEDUC to get pilot project funded.

Dr Innocent NKUNDABATWARE "Necessity of School Psychologists in Rwandan Education System"

PIASS Academic Staff During the Workshop