Overview of the Education Sector

Since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the GoR has made remarkable progress in rebuilding the social and economic fabric of the country. For the past 10 years, successive Rwandan ESSPs have been aligned to the national macroeconomic development programme – the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). The goals of EDPRS-1 and EDPRS-2 have been to achieve sustainable economic growth and social development. Four thematic priority areas were identified in EDPRS-2 as a focus for prioritisation and planning. These are:

The ESSP 2013/14–2017/18 (MINEDUC, 2013) has contributed substantially and directly to thefourth priority area – improved productivity and youth employment – though it also contributes to accountable governance through effective and transparent stewardship of public resources. EDPRS-2 also identifies several cross-cutting and foundational issues that require cross-Government coordination to support the overarching development and thematic goals. These cross-cutting issues are capacity building to enable effective implementation; regional integration; gender and family; environment and sustainability, climate change and disaster management; disability and social inclusion; and HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases (MINECOFIN, 2013). The ESSP 2013/14–2017/18 has similarly contributed to several of these foundational themes.

Since 2010, the Seven-Year Government Programme (7YGP) has provided a broad programme of action guiding the activities of all sectors over the period 2010–2017. It rests on four broad pillars: good governance, justice, economic development, and social well-being; with education, science and technology being included under the latter (Republic of Rwanda, 2010).

Under this broad programme, successive ESSPs have focused on turning the above national objectives into viable education development programmes. The initial focus has been on getting all children and young people into education and enabling them to complete nine years of free education of good quality under the Nine Years Basic Education (9YBE) initiative. This has substantially increased enrolment in primary and lower secondary education. Since 2012, this has been expanded to 12 years of free quality education. The education objectives within the 7YGP are to strengthen the quality of education, to promote Rwanda’s cultural values, and to develop graduates who are selfreliant job creators who add value to their products for both the local and foreign markets (Republic of Rwanda, 2010; MINEDUC, 2013).

Since 2010, there has been increased prioritisation and fast-tracking of three policy options:

The NST-1 2017–2024 (Republic of Rwanda, 2017), is the main implementation strategy for the remainder of Vision 2020 and the first seven years of Vision 2050. It combines the previous 7YGP and the EDPRS into one coherent strategy. It will also serve as a strategy for making progress towards achieving the SDGs, the Africa Union Agenda 2063, and the EAC Vision 2050. NST-1 has three main pillars:

  1. Economic transformation.
  2. Social transformation.
  3. Transformational governance.

The second pillar includes an overarching goal to ‘develop Rwandans into a capable and skilled people with quality standards of living and a stable and secure society’, and one of its six priority strategies is to ‘enhance the demographic dividend through improved access to quality education’ (Republic of Rwanda, 2017).

Building on what has already been achieved, the overall thrust of Rwanda’s development trajectory is the aspiration to become an upper middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050, and an intention to provide high quality livelihoods and living standards to Rwandan citizens by 2050.

Education Sector Policy Framework

The national education goals and objectives in the Rwandan Education Sector Policy (MINEDUC, 2003) provide the philosophical basis of the role of education in the country and are the basis for developing all education development programmes. The core objectives and messages echoed in the education policy framework are:

These core objectives are further underpinned by eight specific policy objectives in the box below:

  • To ensure that education is available and accessible to all Rwandese people.
  • To improve the quality and relevance of education.
  • To promote the teaching of science and technology, with a special focus on ICT and usage of digital content in all subjects.
  • To promote the four languages of Kinyarwanda, English, French and Swahili in the country, with English as the language of instruction for teaching and learning at all levels except preprimary and lower primary, where Kinyarwanda is used.
  • To promote an integral, comprehensive education oriented towards the respect of human rights and adapted to the present situation of the country.
  • To inculcate in children a sense of, and to sensitise them to, the importance of the environment, hygiene and health and protection against HIV/AIDS.
  • To improve the capacity for planning, management and administration of education.
  • To promote research as a mobilising factor for national development and to harmonise the research agenda.

For more information, read Education_Sector_Strategic_Plan_2018_2024.pdf