Achieving Quality Education for All is Possible
Rwanda Opens Regional Summit on Quality Education
Kigali, 29 November 2011: At the opening of the first regional summit on Achieving Quality Education for All, the Speaker of the Rwandan Senate and the Guest of Honour of the event, Hon. Dr. John Damascene Ntawukuriryayo emphasised how improving the quality of learning will help the country achieve its economic development and poverty reduction goals.
“Education is the key to supplying the skilled workforce that our labour market needs,” said Ntawukuriryayo. “Quality education and the creation of a skilled and knowledgeable young population will be the foundation upon which Rwanda achieves its ambition of becoming a knowledge-based economy. The Rwandan Government continues to give priority to education development, acknowledging the link between success in education outcomes and the achievement of our own national economic development and poverty reduction goals and the overall Vision for the country,” he explained.
His remarks were made at the opening of this two day summit, which brings together participants from ten Ministries of Education in the region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), as well as national, regional and international expert speakers from the field of quality education.
Rwanda is one of a few African countries on track to achieve universal access to primary education (96% net enrolment in 2011) with girls enrolling at slightly higher rates than boys. Under the Nine Year Basic Education Reform, Government abolished primary school fees in 2003 and lower secondary fees in 2007. It also invested heavily in teacher training and classroom construction to get more children into school while maintaining the quality of education.
But the challenges facing Rwanda and other countries in the region in improving quality and learning achievements are multiple. According to the conference organisers, the common challenge is to consistently improve the quality of education for all during a period of ever increasing student enrolment. This is important in the context of limited resources, where it is necessary to plan, prioritise and phase quality improvement measures in the best possible way.
The regional summit will allow participants to plot a way forward in addressing these challenges, while learning from good regional and international practices to improve quality learning outcomes and key competencies.
“Basic numeracy and literacy are foundational skills for all future learning. We must ensure that our schools are developing these skills and giving children the tools to learn and unlock their full potential," said Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Mathias Harebamungu.
During the summit, participants will have the opportunity to discuss how to improve teaching and learning; how to better assess learning achievement; how to promote literacy, language and reading; how to enhance teacher training and motivation, and how to strengthen technical and vocational training.
At the end of the summit, participants will discuss conclusions and recommendations for achieving quality education for all in the region. Each country will take away action points and ideas to support their respective quality education initiatives.