The New Times (Kigali)
8 September 2008
Posted to the web 8 September 2008
Students of SOS Hermann Gmeiner Technical High School at Kagugu, a Kigali suburb, made a big impression on guests while displaying their end of school projects last week.
The event, an 'open day' exhibition in which impressive exhibits in the four technical subjects offered by the school - accounting, computer science, electricity and woodwork - were on display, was largely to showcase achievements and seek partners' contributions in terms of strategies for improvement, among others.
"This was an 'open day' exercise to show our clients what we have accomplished and seek their suggestions for improvement," John Gaga, the school's director explained the event's objective.
Accordingly, clients are the parents, 'the industry' [those who employ students] and students themselves. He emphasized two pillars - customer satisfaction and continuous improvement.
"We are trying to do our best especially for the industry. Our products at the end, as they are technicians must be employable. We want to make a difference," Gaga said.
The establishment is the only ISO certified technical school in the region. The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer and publisher of international standards.
Representatives from local industries, parents and the private sector at the occasion were especially impressed by the school's work.
Raj Rajendran, UTEXRWA's Managing Director, and Molly Rwigamba, the Private Sector Federation's (PSF) Director of Capacity Building and Employment, extolled the students' accomplishments.
"Government now realises the importance of this kind of training and the Private Sector Federation is thinking of partnering with technical and vocational schools," Rwigamba said.
"We will do whatever it takes to make these programmes become a success," she pledged.
A computer science student at the school displayed an inspiring web he dubbed 'e-imihigo' for the end of school project.
Shaffy Malik Lizinde, a senior six student participating in his school's 'open day' exhibition said that he drew his inspiration from following up the country's developmental and political issues.
"Having heard about government's wish to have all things computerised, I thought very much about an 'e-imihigo' or electronic imihigo project for my end of year," Lizinde told The New Times.
He explained that his initial project idea largely centered on getting good grades but emphasized he recognised its bigger importance in the country's decentralisation policy.
"It is all in the Kinyarwanda language simply because imihigo is for Rwandans," he said, adding that it could be modified to feature other national languages.
Imihigo or district performance contracts were instituted to hold local governments accountable for the financing provided to them and to the general public.
Nicole Palmer, Industrial Coordinator at the school, underscored that they were encouraging "hands-on practice."
"We have the latest equipment and we are bringing in experts from outside to train Rwandan teachers," she said.
She stressed that further efforts were directed at harmonising technical schools' examinations and organising work placements, another pointer parents appreciated.
"The students are very well disciplined and apparently the school has got good instructors," said Joyeuse Gahongayire, a visibly contented parent.
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