OLPC Rwanda/Background

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Rwanda's National Education Background

Rwanda's school system operates on a "6-3-3-4 system": 6 years of primary school, 3 years of junior secondary school, 3 years of senior secondary school, and 4 years of a University Bachelor's Degree. <ref> "Rwanda System of Education"; US Embassy. http://rwanda.usembassy.gov/rwanda_system_of_education.html </ref>

Under Rwandan President Paul Kagame's leadership, many changes are underway in Rwanda's national education system (see the "Ten Year Long Term Strategy and Financing Framework" section below). One of the most important changes is Rwanda's aim to provide students with nine years (six years of primary and three years of post-primary) of free education. <ref> Rwanda's Ministry of Education website http://www.mineduc.gov.rw/spip.php?article21 </ref> These changes will require redesigning the primary school and common-core syllabus to focus more on math, language, and elementary technological sciences. They also require a substantial increase in the national budget for education, which has been described as "not less than 30 percent."<ref> Rwanda's Ministry of Education website http://www.mineduc.gov.rw/spip.php?article21 </ref>

In 2009, it was announced that Rwanda would switch from French to English as the language of instruction after the fourth year of primary school. Most Rwandans speak Kinyarwanda, one of Rwanda's three official languages (which also includes English and French). Many people speak Swahili in market towns.

Ten Year Long Term Strategy and Financing Framework (LTSFF 2006-2015) In 2006, Rwanda created a Ten Year Long Term Strategy and Financing Framework (LTSFF 2006-2015) to coincide with the completion of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. This was created with the a shorter-term, five-year Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP 2006-2010) that has since been updated with a new Education Sector Strategic Plan (2008-2012). The LTSFF places priority on a number of educational areas , including creating a fee-free education, incorporating science, technology, and information technologies into school curriculum, and expanding HIV/AIDS education, language education, and special needs education.

  • The main goals for the LTSFF include <ref>UNESCO "Rwanda Education Sector: Long-Term Strategy and Financing Framework, 2006-2015; http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Rwanda/Rwanda%20LT%20Strategy%20and%20financing%20framework%20Sept%2006.pdf </ref>:
    • Achieve universal primary completion of quality primary education by 2015, and expand opportunities for all Rwandans to achieve nine years of basic education
    • The teaching of science and technology with a special focus on ICT for a more adaptable labour force. In particular the participation of girls in upper secondary and higher education is to be encouraged. Incentives are to be developed for science and technology teachers.
    • Provide increased opportunities for early childhood development, adult literacy, secondary and tertiary education, and children with special needs
    • Improve quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness at all levels
    • Integrate cross cutting issues such as respect for human rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equality, environment, hygiene, health across the education system
    • Improve planning, management, administration capacities based on reliable data, governance and transparency
    • Promote research for national development in partnership with the private sector.

The LTSFF was also updated to include more ambitious targets for achieving universal primary education:

LTSFF's 2006 Key Targets For Achieving Universal Primary Education Numbers
Primary School Completion From 51% (2006) to 112% by 2015 <ref> Completion rate exceeds 100% because of the large numbers of overage children in the schooling system which also means that the gross enrollment rate has been above 100%.</ref>
Dropout Rate 14% (2006) to 5% (2010 to 2% (2015)
Repetition Rate 19% (2006) to 8% (2010) to 3% (2015)
Double Shifting Reduction From 31% (2004) to 20% (2010) to 6% (2015)
Textbook Ratio 1:1 in core subjects by 2008
Transition Rate from Primary to Lower Secondary as a Major Move Towards Nine Year Basic Education 75% achieved by 2015
GER at Secondary 16% (2006) to 43% (2015)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Development in Rwanda

Even before OLPC began its work in Rwanda, the Rwandan government made a commitment to embrace information technology development in its economy and education system. It has chosen information technology as its main development strategy for Rwanda's Vision 2020, a movement to transform Rwanda's economy into a middle income country. According to the Rwanda Vision 2020 proposal, in order to stimulate the country's private sector, "provision of high quality educational services in sciences and technology will be necessary for consolidating development gains made in the short and medium term. It is envisaged that with these reforms, Rwanda will transform from a subsistence agricultural economy to a knowledge-based society, with a vibrant class of entrepreneurs...By 2020, Rwanda projects to have internet access at all administrative levels, for all secondary schools and for a large number of primary schools."

Education Statistics

1. UNICEF's State of the World's Children Report 2009 Statistics
Categories Numbers
Total adult literacy rate (%), 2000-2007 65
Primary school net enrollment/ attendance (%), 2000-2007 86
Youth literacy, 2000–2007 (M / F)<ref> Youth literacy rate – Number of literate persons aged 15–24, expressed as a percentage of the total population in that age group.</ref> 79 / 77
internet users 2006 3 / 1
Primary school gross enrollment (%) 2000-2007 (M / F)<ref> Primary school gross enrollment ratio – Number of children enrolled in primary school, regardless of age,expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age. </ref> 138 / 142
Primary school net enrollment (%) 2000-2007 (M / F)<ref> Primary school net enrollment ratio – Number of children enrolled in primary school who are of official primary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age. </ref> 76 / 81
Primary school net attendance (%) 2000-2007 (M / F) <ref> Primary school net attendance ratio – Number of children attending primary or secondary school who are of official primary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official primary school age. </ref> 84 / 87
Survival rate to last primary grade (%) 2000–2007 (administrative / survey data) <ref> Survival rate to the last grade of primary school – Percentage of children entering the first grade of primary school who eventually reach the last grade of primary school. </ref> 31 / 76
Secondary school gross enrollment (%) 2000-2007 (M/F)<ref> Secondary school gross enrollment ratio – Number of children enrolled in secondary school, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official secondary school age. </ref> 14 / 13
Secondary school net enrollment (%) 2000-2007 (M/F)<ref> Secondary school net enrollment ratio – Number of children enrolled in secondary school who are of official secondary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official secondary school age.</ref> not available
Secondary school net attendance (%) 2000-2007 (M/F)<ref> Secondary school net attendance ratio – Number of children attending secondary or tertiary school who are of official secondary school age, expressed as a percentage of the total number of children of official secondary school age. </ref> 5 / 5

Other Rwandan Education Statistics
Categories Numbers
Public expenditure on primary education per pupil (2009) <ref> Human Development Report 2009 http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/indicators/164.html </ref> $109
Distribution of Public Expenditure Per Level (%) - Primary (2007) <ref> UNESCO Institute for Statistics: Rwanda Education http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=6460&BR_Region=40540 </ref> 45%
Distribution of Public Expenditure Per Level (%) - Secondary (2007) <ref> UNESCO Institute for Statistics: Rwanda Education http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=6460&BR_Region=40540 </ref> 25%
Pupil/Teacher Ratio in Primary School (2008) <ref> UNESCO Institute for Statistics: Rwanda Education http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=6460&BR_Region=40540 </ref> 68:1

OLPC's work in Rwanda

detailed article:OLPC Rwanda

Rwanda has committed to deploy 120,000 laptops across the country in alignment with the country's push to increase IT education in schools. 10,000 XO laptops were donated through the Give One Get One program in 2007. The XO laptops feature English keyboards following a nationwide switch in 2009 when English replaced French as the language of instruction in schools. Since 2009, the OLPC Learning Team has been developing the Kigali-based Center for Laptops & Learning in partnership with the Kigali Institute of Science & Technology (KIST). The OLPC Learning Team has helped with the development of the Center.

Education Development Initiatives in Rwanda

Summary of Development Initiatives in Rwanda From Major Agencies/NGOs
Name of Organization Investment in Country Description of Activities/Major Projects
UNICEF 52 schools are considered "child friendly"; 17% of all schools are on track to be child friendly by 2012 • UNICEF constructed 212 temporary classrooms following the February 2008 earthquake; are rebuilding a destroyed, 24-classroom primary school and reconstructing it as a model child-friendly school; Twelve UNICEF-supported schools (six primary and six secondary) were awarded for their achievements in promoting quality education for all children.
WFP Reached 535,000 people in 2009 (including providing 300,000 children with hot lunches). Targeting 540,000 people in 2010. <ref> WFP Activities http://www.wfp.org/countries/rwanda </ref>
  • In 2009 WFP provided hot lunches to 300,000 primary school children in 300 schools in the most food-insecure parts of the country; worked with the Rwandan government on food security initiatives (WFP will hand over school meal responsibilities to the government in 2012)
  • WFP also provided assistance to 58,000 refugees from the DRC and 10,000 Rwandans returning home in 2009.
WHO The strategic direction for WHO in Rwanda includes:
  • Strengthening of the health system;
  • Control of diseases (non-communicable and communicable);
  • Health promotion and the environment
UNESCO Rwanda has volunteered to participate in the “One UN” pilot initiative (see below). It is designed to better coordinate delivery by United Nations agencies, including UNESCO. One of the country’s top priorities is strengthening its educational capacities. It is also concerned with developing media. The UNESCO-sponsored Radio Salus at the National University of Rwanda provides training for students.
UNDP UNDP programmes in Rwanda support the work of the Government of Rwanda in finding and implementing solutions in the following focus areas:
IFRC The total budget for 2010-2011 budget is $1,122,294 In its country plan for 2010-2011, the Rwandan Red Cross (RRC) will scale up its disaster management, health and care, capacity development and information and dissemination programmes in 2010-2011. It has also chosen two approaches to improve the livelihoods of the country's vulnerable population:
  • The "Performance Contracts" strategy aims to involve and commit district committees in implementing programs that focus on a set of targets for measuring changes or improved quality of services.
  • Its second approach, the "Model Village," mobilizes communities, focuses on activities, and channels resources to selected villages for more impact and rapid change.
World Vision Doesn't have a very specific description of priorities on website. Says simply "where World Vision is working, living conditions are desperate. Families simply cannot meet their children’s basic needs, including nutritious food, safe shelter, education, health care, and trauma counseling. Working alongside families in the communities that both ethnicities now live, World Vision is helping Rwandans move beyond the recent atrocities to experience new life." Seems to be doing a lot of work with UNICEF and WFP on nutrition-related issues.
Save the Children UK Protecting 36,000 children from abuse and exploitation through community-based child protection networks; providing Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) opportunities for 2,200 children in 22 specialist centres. Save the Children has been working in Rwanda since 1994 at the end of the genocide, and has reunited 40,000 children with their families. They are currently involved in a number of initiatives, including developing networks of adults and chilren trained in children's rights, community-based child protection networks and providing Early Childhood Care and Development opportunities. They are also involved in healthcare initiatives with the Ministry of Health, and have provided basic and affordable healthcare to 123,024 children under five and 160,770 women in the Burera and Gicumbi districts. Read more about their work in their Rwanda 2009 report.(Note: Save the Children US does not work in Rwanda, only Save the Children UK.)
USAID During Fiscal Year 2009, USAID had a $150.7 million budget in Rwanda. In 2004, the Fiscal Year budget was $47.5 million. USAID has a three part mission strategy in Rwanda. This three-part streategy includes:
  • Improved Governance through Increased Citizen Participation (reinforced capacity for implementation of decentralization policy in target districts; increased government responsiveness to citizens at the national level; and, enhanced opportunities for reconciliation.)
  • Increased Use of Community Health Services including HIV/AIDS (reinforced capacity for implementation of the decentralization policy in target health districts; increased access to selected essential health commodities and community health services; improved quality of community health services; and improved community level responses to health issues.)
  • Expanded Economic Opportunities in Rural Areas (expanded adoption of improved agricultural and business practices; rural finance more accessible; and, rural infrastructure improved.)
SOS Children's Villages There are currently three SOS Children’s Villages, two SOS Youth Facility, three SOS Kindergartens, three SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, two SOS Medical Centres, two SOS Vocational Training Centres and three SOS Social Centres. The first SOS Children's Village in Rwanda was created in 1978. During the Rwandan genocide, children living in the Rwandan villages fled to neighboring SOS villages villages in Congo. Upon return, the organization focused all of their attention therapeutic rehabilitation of traumatised children and in repatriating families. Beginning in 2004, SOS Children's Village Central Africa has worked with other NGOs to assist needy populations (especially people with HIV/AIDS) with medical drugs, school feeds, and through the creation of self help projects. Projects like these lead to the creation of SOS Children's Villages Vocational Center in Kigali that was built in 2005.
World Bank As of April 2010, World Bank support to Rwanda consisted of 13 projects with net commitments of US$294.48 million. With the intention of catalyzing higher volume of private resources in Rwanda, the World Bank supports the Rwandan Government's Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). Rwanda’s Bank-supported active projects are in the following five sectors:
  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Education
  • Infrastructure
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Transportation and telecommunication

Other Educational Development Initiatives in Rwanda
Name of Initiative Description
Rwanda Education Commons Sponsored by the Global Learning Portal and funded by USAID, The Rwanda Education Commons (REC) creates a model of the Digital Commons, demonstrating the use of ICT to connect education stakeholders with each other and with resources, for the overall purpose of improving access to quality education. The commons as a central, virtual location for all stakeholders – government, funders, NGOs, the private sector - to share and coordinate efforts for programmatic activities.
One UN “Delivering as One” initiative Rwanda is one of eight pilot countries for the Delivering as One Initiative. The ONE UN programme focuses on five strategic thematic areas: governance; health, HIV and population; education; environment and sustainable growth and social protection. The intended outcomes of this project are:
  • improved school attendance and retention of boys and girls in WFP-assisted primary schools;
  • increased enrolment and retention of orphans and vulnerable children; and
  • increased ability to manage school meal programmes by the Government at the national, regional and district levels. <ref> World Food Programme; Food Assistance Support for Education http://www.wfp.org/content/food-assistance-support-education </ref> Read more about Rwanda One UN Fund budget and funding here.
Human Help Network in Rwanda Human Help Network is a German NGO in Rwanda that promotes sustainable human, social and economic development. It places a large emphasis on promoting children's rights. Although small, every year the organization is committed to building schools in Rwanda. They also sponsor street children or children in child-headed households.

Other Resources

Rwanda Education Resources:

Education Reports

OLPC in Rwanda:

Education Initiatives' Resources


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