All children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances, have the right to quality education. UNICEF supports children in Rwanda so they can attend school and learn.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda is one of the top-performing countries in education.
98 per cent of children are enrolled in primary school.
However, there are still several challenges in education. Although nearly every child enrolls into primary school, only 71 per cent of children complete their primary education. Classrooms are often too crowded, with an average of 62 students for every qualified teacher.
Only 70 per cent of children with disabilities in Rwanda are enrolled in primary school. There are no penalties if government schools refuse to accept children with disabilities, and many schools are not physically accessible for these children. Schools also lack appropriate classroom materials to cater towards children with disabilities, and teachers lack understanding of differentiating learning plans for students’ various learning needs.
Just 18 per cent of children in Rwanda are enrolled in pre-primary education. There are too few pre-primary facilities, insufficient government budgeting for pre-primary education, and inadequately trained pre-primary educators.
The quality of education requires significant attention. Primary students score too low in numeracy and literacy exams. Teachers are also unable to teach in English, the official language of instruction, and rely too heavily on traditional, teacher-centred instruction.
Although there are relatively equal numbers of boys and girls in classrooms, girls are more likely to drop out of school. Boys also outperform girls in 26 of Rwanda’s 30 districts. Girls are also significantly under-enrolled in technical, vocational and tertiary education.
UNICEF aims to overcome these challenges and pursue inclusive, equitable, and quality education in Rwanda. We are a respected and credible partner of the Government of Rwanda, with a history of sound technical and financial support to the sector.
Alongside the Ministry of Education, UNICEF will strive to ensure:
The education sector has a functional governance system that can effectively provide quality, relevant education.
Children from early childhood through adolescence have increased access to inclusive education.
Girls and boys have a better quality of education, so they emerge from school more prepared for their futures.
Opportunities in education are more gender-equitable for all girls and all boys.
UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Education on the development of the Teacher Management Information System, a national teacher database that enhances the management of the teaching workforce.
UNICEF also continues to ensure that education policies are up-to-date and relevant, with particular focus on ensuring that children with disabilities are included in policy decisions.
Inclusive education is a form of teaching that uses physical accessibility, individual education plans, toys and teaching aids to support children with disabilities. To help more children with disabilities to access education, UNICEF promotes inclusive education as a model of teaching and learning which meets the needs of all children.
UNICEF also helps develop teachers’ skills, so they can be better educators for children of all backgrounds. This includes providing the necessary materials and infrastructure for refugee children, so their education will not be interrupted in their time of crisis.
Since 2016, UNICEF has supported the Government of Rwanda to implement the new Competency-Based Curriculum, which focuses on student-centred teaching methodology, such as more participatory group work and individual learning plans. In the years ahead, UNICEF will continue this support, addressing teacher development through the School-Based Mentorship Programme.
UNICEF also supports training for future educators in all 16 Teacher Training Colleges. This includes development of competency-based syllabi, teacher training guides, and building skills on student-centred pedagogy.
UNICEF is partnering with the Ministry of Education to develop a national communication strategy around gender and education. This will improve awareness among parents on the importance of education for girls and boys and will address social norms which negatively impact school enrolment and learning.
UNICEF has also piloted remedial learning clubs in schools, which targets struggling students – and especially girls – who are falling behind in mathematics and language.