© UNICEF Rwanda/2011/Pirozzi
Rwanda has the highest primary school enrolment rates in Africa. For both boys and girls, it is on track to achieve universal access to primary education by 2015. There has been sustained progress in access to education with the primary net enrolment rate increasing to 97 per cent in 2012. Gender parity at primary level has been achieved, with girls’ net enrolment rate of 98 per cent, which is higher than for boys (95%). The overall completion rate at primary level is 73 per cent (2012), which is a dramatic increase from 53 per cent in 2008, with girls’ completion rates at 78 per cent in 2012, and this reflects Rwanda’s success at increasing access and retention of children in primary school. The qualified teacher to pupil ratio at primary level stands at 62:1, which is an improvement from the 2008 figure of 67:1. (Source: Ministry of Education Statistics Yearbook 2012)
The secondary school net enrolment rate now stands at 28 per cent (30% for girls), up from 26 per cent (27% for girls) in 2011. Girls now make up 52 per cent of students in secondary education. The net enrolment rate for pre-primary education increased to 13 per cent (girls 13.2%) in 2012. The unfinished agenda is to increase coverage of pre-primary education from this very low base.
With Rwanda’s success of achieving near universal access to primary education, a strengthened focus has been placed in recent years on supporting the government to improve quality education and in building capacities to plan, implement and monitor programmes and interventions aimed at ensuring equitable access to quality education, including early childhood education services. There is a need to continue the momentum.
As part of the One UN in Rwanda, UNICEF is providing support to the Government to:
- Develop of the 9 Year Basic Education Fast Tracking strategies which includes development of school infrastructure standards and guidelines to ensure the quality of school construction;
- Expand access to learning opportunities for the most vulnerable children;
- Improve the quality and relevance of education at pre-primary, primary and secondary education;
- Expand access to quality integrated Early Childhood Development and pre-primary services and programmes;
- Rwanda won the Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards 2012, for the innovative fast-tracking strategies of the 9 Year Basic Education Programme. This is a recognition of the progress which Rwanda has made in increasing access to nine years basic education and an acknowledgement of the innovative and successful approaches taken to ensure that all children can access and complete quality basic education in Rwanda.
- Thanks in part to UNICEF advocacy and leadership in supporting the Ministry of Education in drafting the education strategy, the new Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) which came into effect in July 2013 provides for a much greater focus and priority on early learning and pre-primary education, with a corresponding increase in budget allocation.
- In support of this national strategy, UNICEF has embarked on modeling ECD services and pre-primary programmes in 15 locations nationwide, and construction activities are taking place in all fifteen sites, due to be completed in February 2014.
- UNICEF supported the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to develop the concept and strategy for the comprehensive review of the primary and secondary curriculum to improve quality of education and learning outcomes.
- In partnership with International Education Exchange, UNICEF modelled an innovative school based teacher training program (SBM) which deploys mentors on a full-time basis to targeted schools to work with teachers to improve both the English language proficiency and teaching skills. Thus far, the program has worked with 1498 teachers in 48 schools improving the quality of teaching and learning for 70,624 children.
- In December 2013, UNICEF in partnership with Rwanda Education Board (REB), established the teacher licensing and registration system which will support the management and deployment of the teaching workforce.
- Key learning outcomes including school readiness, literacy/numeracy and employability skills for all children improved, focusing on vulnerable children.
- Expanded access to learning opportunities improved for most vulnerable children.
- Quality and relevance of education improved.
- Expanded access to quality integrated child/family services.