By Joan Balinda
The ministry of education announced this month that it has started recruiting around 29,000 teachers to improve the student to teacher ratio for primary, secondary and TVET schools. This follows a project it had initiated at the beginning of June to construct 22,505 new classrooms countrywide, expected to be completed by September.
Rwf123 billion of the budget to construct the classrooms has been provided by the World Bank, whereas Rwf95 billion has been provided by the Government of Rwanda, and as always, home-grown solution ‘Umuganda’ and other community-based activities are being leveraged at village level, mobilizing the population to join the good cause of constructing the classrooms.
Reducing overcrowding in a classroom is a prerequisite for quality education that will transform Rwandans into skilled human capital towards the socio-economic development of the country.
“All of these efforts invested at improving the education sector will reduce overcrowding to 60% countrywide and contribute to the government of Rwanda’s goal to enhance the quality of education”. Minister of education, Valentine Uwamariya said to the media.
The ongoing construction of classrooms with appropriate learning materials, sanitary facilities, and ensuring access to modern laboratories, and the current efforts by the government to increase the number of qualified teachers aim at also improving the public education sector by countering disparities in quality between public and private sectors, thus ensuring equity in Rwanda’s education sector. They will also reduce the percentage of dropouts as students will not be required to make long journeys to and from school, as the construction of schools is being done in every district, this will in turn make the fight against coronavirus and future pandemics that may arise later easier to control by allowing social distancing.
This important milestone in the education sector follows the initial focus by the Government of Rwanda that has been on enabling everyone get educated and complete nine years of free education under the Nine Years Basic Education (9YBE) initiative, which has substantially increased enrolment in primary and lower secondary education, and later been expanded to 12years basic education since 2012.
The improvement of the education sector is part of the national goal as per the NST 1 in its Social Transformation Pillar whose objective among others is ‘Ensuring Quality of education for all aiming at building a knowledge-based economy’.