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|Two-week training course for tailoring teachers|
Because of a very important two-week training course for Rwandan tailoring teachers from schools across the Southern Province, the regular daily schedule at CFJ Padri Vjeko Technical Training Centre was somewhat interupted and the celebration of the school’s Official Day was postponed.
Ever since 2003, July 21st, the name day of St. Vjeko and the name of the late friar Vjeko Ćurić, has been celebrated as the School’s Day. This annual festival was introduced by the successor of the centre’s founder, the present director Fra Ivica Perić. This year, because the forty teachers from twenty-eight different teaching centres of the South Province covering the area south of Kigali all the way to the border with Burundi came for this training, the celebration was postponed until 3rd July. Usually at this time, the students - bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, welders, plumbers and tailors are busy preparing an exhibition of their works, as well as preparing for a sports and cultural programme with lots of singing, dancing and acting. But, instead, the participants of the teachers’ course are working hard in one of the class-rooms at their sewing-machines and the celebration will happen at the end of the two week workshop.
Accommodation and food for the teachers who came from all parts of the country has been provided at the Centre. The course was organized as part of a project designed to provide assistance to the people of Rwanda in developing their economy – something that has been implemented since 2008 by the Rwanda WDA (Rwanda Workforce Development Authority). In March 2009, the Rwandan Government assigned the WDA to launch five IPRC centres (Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres), i.e. one in each Province and one in the capital Kigali.
A Canadian fashion designer and educator, Valerie Kae Ken, prepared an intensive programme for this Professional Development Workshop for the tailoring teachers of Rwanda. She is also the person responsible for delivering the course. As well, Ms. Ken designed and implemented the two year Tailoring Programs being run – one in Rwanda and one in Uganda.
“Our approach to this supplementary education worshop is systematic, step by step. In our discussions, we have learned from the teachers what type of school they are coming from, how many students and sewing-machines they have, which programmes they use and how they transfer the knowledge to their students. This is very important because there is great difference in the qualifications and abilities of the teachers, and we want to develop a consistent well-balanced programme according to the DACUM (Develop a Curriculum) process. Not one of their schools is equipped with a button-hole sewing machine, and during our visit to the schools, it was noted that they often use irrelevant exercises and teach garment construction using only local tailoring methods.
However, in order to attract buyers for well designed and well finished clothes, it is necessary to upgrade their skills. Also, the students at the various centres do not prepare file folders with their work as do the students here at CFJ Padri Vjeko School” – says Ms. Ken, who always returns to the missions in Kivumu, Rwanda and Nyamitanga, Uganda where she helps at St. Francis Family Helper Project. Ms. Ken’s assistants for this workshop include her former student Mukwasibwe, who is now a respected teacher in Uganda. As well, she has Jovita, another Ugandan teacher and Aphrodise and Joseph who both teach in Kivumu.
On 21st June, the first day of the course, the participants were welcomed by Hilde Lemey, TVET advisor for Southern Province. She pointed out that the plan was to provide one teacher with IPRC certificate for each of 28 provincial school centres.
“It is your responsibility that your students as much as possible; this task was assigned to you with full confidence by your Government. You have this opportunity to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. Use this opportunity not only for the well-being of your student, but also for the progress of your economy”– said Fra Ivica, welcoming the course takers and wishing them a pleasant stay at the Centre Brother Vjeko.
The teachers sit in discussion workshops every morning from 8:30 until 12:00 noon and then they are required to be at their sewing-machines in the afternoon from 1.00 to 4:00. However, their enthusiasm and dedication is obvious by the way that they remain sometimes as late as 6:30 p.m. During their one-hour lunch-break and after the classes they have plenty of time for socializing over meals, resting, and getting together with other colleagues to exchange experiences.
Photo by: Jure Mišković