Education in Rwanda
Rwanda is a country found in the middle of Africa which was highly affected by the civil wars. The country was a colony of Belgium who afterwards sabotaged one community by supporting one among the two major communities. In the process, education was affected due to lack of balance among communities. In the research paper, a discussion on education in Rwanda will take a center stage. The methods used for data collection were through primary and secondary data collection styles. In addition, the findings are shown and discussed in this paper. Education in Rwanda is becoming better by day but the rate of failures is alarming.
Rwandan uses 6-3-3-4 education system thereby one takes six years in primary school, three years in junior secondary school, and three years in senior secondary school and 4 years in University. There are three official languages used; French, English and Kinyarwanda. For both the genders, Rwanda is among the African countries with the highest pupils enrolled in primary schools. In 2012, the access to primary schools gradually increased to 97 percent. Rwanda has achieved gender balance as the rate of girls attending school is 98 percent 3 percent higher than boys. It is very remarkable on how 73 percent of pupils presently complete primary education as compared to 2008 where only 53 percent did. In regards to that we can see the success of Rwandan Education especially from the increased access and the number of children clears primary education. However, although many students clear education, the ratio of students to teachers is 67:1 these pose a big problem on their results.
Pupils sit for the national primary education examinations in order to join the junior secondary school. Currently, the rate at which students who qualifies for secondary schools stands at 28 percent with 30 percent of girls marking an improvement from 27 percent in 2011. Girls have the highest percentage of students in secondary schools, it being an African nation that is a very big improvement as only a boy child is empowered. At the end of the junior secondary school, more than 28,000 student’s sit for the national secondary Education Ordinary Level examination, this is at the ninth grade. A student is allowed to retake the paper or if decides not can join private schools.
There are 734 secondary schools in Rwanda which can enroll less than 13,000 students thus making it very competitive as more than half of the students miss the chances. Many students attend public boarding schools although other students attend the private schools with all students sitting for the same National Secondary Education Advance Level exam to clear secondary education. Students take a combination of three subjects of their choice with two papers that are compulsory; general paper and Entrepreneurship. Only 3 percent of the students get A's with more than 30 percent failing. The grading is shown at the back of each students certificate ranging from A (6) to F (0). Each grade is multiplied by three to make a weighted aggregate with an exception of the general paper whose weight is constant at 1. Every year, less than one thousand students sit for different national exam to get their higher diplomas.
More than 44,000 students get enrolled in the higher learning institutions in Rwanda to pursue different careers in all levels; certificates, diplomas, undergraduates, graduates and many others. The University of Rwanda formed from joining several Rwandan public Universities and this made it the best in the country. The merged colleges include college of education, college of business and economics, college of science and technology, college of arts and humanity, college of medicine and health sciences, and college of agriculture, animal science and veterinary medicine. The Rwandan education board has worked tirelessly to make its mission of fast-track education development in the country by trying to improve performance and growth in education thus and with the Rwanda University the growth is inevitable.
The education board is working together with the private and public schools in to be at par with other east African community countries in regards to education. For quality education, there are six sections set to improve and monitor education this are; the section of examination and accreditation, the sector of pedagogical and curricula materials, the section of standard and quality education. Other sections are teacher education professionalization and management, section of e-learning, ICT in education and open learning, and last but not least the higher education student loan section. The paper focuses on research undertaken in several parts of Rwanda regarding the Education systems.
Different research institutes were approached to come up with Standard Operation Systems S&OPs to give guidelines on the research. Most of the S&OPs agreed that the best way to collected information is by observation and questionnaires. Best qualified researchers were recruited to be observers and also aid in implementing, running and observing the process of data collection all over the country. The research institutes went through the National education records and other materials like papers to compare their results with the current situation.
The observers were entitled to go to major public and private schools and find out how every day activities are conducted and also interact with children, parents and teachers. However, doing this was not simple that is why they were given resources to organize functions like seminars, games and other activities and in the process they managed. The group they had questionnaires went to several schools asking questions that are relevant to each group namely; the educational government officials, administration, board of directors, parents association, students, subordinate staffs and even neighbors of the school. Later on, the data was recorded, analyzed, passed to the research paper board for checking and later reported then results given out. All this process took them two years as it was not easy to go around the country and also different data was collected analysis was not that easy.
From the data collected, it clearly shows that education in Rwanda has improved compared to yester years. Although the rate of failures is high, Rwanda has three major aspects that are addressing the issue. The first aspect is Action whereby the UNICEF in conjunction with the Rwandan government is expanding the early childhood education system. UNICEF also supports helping needy children to attain education. Secondly they base on expected results thus making students prepared; this is by looking at the welfare of all students starting from the poor to others. By doing this the educational standards improve. Most focus is on the vulnerable students as others can manage thus reducing the gap illiteracy. Last but not least is the progress Rwandan education has gained. Regarding progress, the UNICEF has done a very commendable job in Rwanda. The UNICEF has helped the country starting from early childhood education, management and many other things thus making Rwanda win global awards. In 2012, Rwanda won the Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards. Education in Rwanda is observed to still grow in the coming years as everyone is determined to take it to higher levels with improved performance.
The factor that has greatly influenced the Education in Rwanda is the Action; this is because the Rwandan community is generally aggressive in doing things due to their past experiences. Additionally, the education system in the country is of quality and the knowledge given in all levels is important to the growth of literacy to students. The government of Rwanda through the Rwandan Educational Board is always willing to work with other institutions to improve education in Rwanda. Because of their willingness, many nongovernmental organizations UNICEF as the torch bearer came in and in due process the education standards improved drastically. There is no marginalization in Rwanda i.e. the ratio of girl and boy child enrolled and clearing education is almost the same. The government has set aside six sections from different industries to monitor and improve education. Most of the employees in those sections are qualified for their jobs thus take the education spirit to the next level.
In Africa, Rwanda is among the countries that offer the best education. Most of the households in Rwanda are poor thus the support by UNICEF for the vulnerable students has helped many people in the country attain good grades thus quality education. Adding to that, the government’s humility and hospitality has greatly influenced the growth of education sector. Although there are minimal resources in Rwanda, the people concerned with education are utilizing them well and thus improve the education standards.
Education in Rwanda has a room to improve even further if the communities continue to be bound together and work hand in hand to attain one goal. They have to us implemented their slogan "Embrace the Rwandan education system by being part of it".