Voices from the classroom: Teachers' and students' perceptions and experiences on education reform in a transitional society

Year: 2001

Author: Earnest, Jaya, Treagust, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Rwanda is a society in transition, which has been adversely, affected by major social, political, economic, cultural and ethnic upheaval and is one of the world's poorest countries. Rwanda has adopted national goals of eradication of illiteracy, national capacity building in science and technology and reinforcing the teaching of mathematics and sciences. This study utilised qualitative and quantitative methods to examine how teachers'and students' perceptions and experiences impact on the ongoing education reform process within a transitional society. Interviews with teachers, students and administrators are used to describe and analyse their views and experiences during a period of turmoil. Vignettes of teacher, caselets of teacher and student experiences and critical reflection by the researcher provide a dramatic insight into the lives of a Rwandans. This study forms part of a larger study and has made use of vignettes, stories, interviews, photographs, classroom observations and reflexivity to examine the effect of socio-cultural, economic and political factors on the lives of students and teachers. The findings identified factors, which influence the education rebuilding and reform process in a volatile transitional society.