UNICEF in action

Key achievements




UNICEF Rwanda/2015/Randazzo
© UNICEF Rwanda/2015/Randazzo

Thanks to the significant efforts made over the last decade by the Government of Rwanda and its partners to expand access to education throughout the country, Rwanda is one of the top-performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa in education, having achieved Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 for access to Universal Primary Education, with a net enrolment rate of 97.7per cent (boys: 97.3%; girls: 98%) (MINEDUC, 2016).

In terms of gender equality in education, Rwanda’s education system boasts the highest participation rates in East Africa as well as gender parity in net and gross enrolment at the pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels. In fact, girls’ enrolment surpasses boys’ enrolment at all levels. Despite these achievements, gender disparities exist, namely in learning outcomes for girls and negative social norms that impact both boys and girls, which have been informed by a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Study on Gender in Education.

Among populations of vulnerable children, however, equitable access is still a key issue: Equitable access to basic education for vulnerable children is an issue; only 70 per cent of children with disabilities are enrolled in primary schools (2012 census data and MINEDUC 2016).

Moving forward into the landscape of the new Sustainable Development Goals, these impressive gains in access at the primary level now need to be matched by similar increases in access at the pre-primary level, which presently stands at only 23.7 gross enrolment rate (MINEDUC, 2016), and significant improvements in quality and efficiency throughout the system.

In order to address these problems, MINEDUC, with substantial financial and technical support from UNICEF and other partners, embarked upon an ambitious programme of curriculum reform, which culminated in the transformation of a knowledge-based approach to education (i.e., learning based largely on rote memorization) into a competency-based curriculum that extends from pre-primary through the end of upper secondary school. This shift is in line with the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which seeks to transform Rwanda’s predominantly agricultural economy into a knowledge-based economy by 2020, and is intended to better equip children with the skills and competencies they need to fully participate in Rwanda’s future labour market.

UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Rwanda to implement its Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), with a focus on four key areas: First, Increasing access to basic education, especially for vulnerable children; second, improving the quality of education; third, increasing access to quality pre-primary education; and, fourth, addressing gender barriers in education.





UNICEF in Rwanda: Country Profile 2018

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Facts & Figures

Primary Net Enrolment rate (2016): 97.7%

Primary Completion rate (2016): 65.2%

Pupil qualified teacher Ratio (2015): 62:1

Pre Primary Net Enrolment Rate (2017): 19.6%

Secondary Net Enrolment Rate (2016): 32.9%

Source: National Data from National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Education


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