The mission of the Ministry of Education is to transform the Rwandan citizen into skilled human capital for socio-economic development of the country by ensuring equitable access to quality education focusing on combating illiteracy, promotion of science and technology, critical thinking and positive values.
After the 1994 genocide, the education sector, as well as other sectors of national life, passed through an emergency situation during which the main objective was to reshape and try to restart the education system which had broken down.
A new orientation for education was defined in the 1998 policy and so, a new restructured Rwandan education system has been and still is slowly, but surely, being set up. The Government of National Unity can be proud of some positive results scored in the education sector since the 1998 policy was adopted.
Today, we have entered a new phase which is more developmental and consequently, the education sector needs a new policy. Rwanda like many other countries now finds itself at a crossroads with commitments to achieve certain international development targets, notably Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Education for All (EFA), and a great need to develop other levels of education which remain at a low point. Furthermore, the education system must also fit in the guidelines defined in Vision 2020, the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Decentralization policy and the Information and Communications Technology policy.
Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD)
The government does not presently finance pre-school education, but rather offers technical support and plans to give incentives to the private sector to provide such services. In the future, the Government will play an active part in the financing of this subsector. In addition, the feasibility of using existing Primary and other structures to provide such services will be examined, and further data will be obtained to determine the type of service desired by the public and the potential public benefits (for example, enabling mothers to take up employment, older siblings to attend school themselves, etc).
To ensure that no child is denied the chance of basic education the Government has abolished the current 300 Frw school fees and substituted with an equivalent Capitation Grant.. In addition to the concern over primary school pupils there shall be a special programme for out of school youth (who comprise, largely, war and genocide orphans, the victims of HIV/AIDS, disabled children, etc). These measures will pave the way for the achievement of EFA by 2015. The intention of the Government is to raise, progressively to 9 years of basic education from the current 6 years of primary education.
Nine year basic education
Achieving nine year basic education is one of the main goals and priorities of the Government of Rwanda. It aims to raise the general level of literacy, knowledge and skills in the population, which has the potential to reduce poverty and improve economic growth in the future
Technical and Professional/Vocational Education
Technical and Professional/Vocational Education are provided at the second cycle of secondary education by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research (MINEDUC). Historically, Rwanda has had a shortage of technicians, and where technical education has existed, it has often been of poor quality. This situation was exacerbated by the events of 1994, where some of the few technicians that existed were killed in the genocide or fled the country.
The number of public and private institutions and students has been rising significantly over the last decade however enrolments in higher education is still in Rwanda low to regional and international standards. The Government plans to continue to increase the enrolment of students through both the public and private sector in order to build a stock of human resources necessary for the economic development of Rwanda.
Science and Technology in Education
Science and Technology is one of the key policy priorities along with 9 year Basic Education for all. Promoting science and technology education is an essential strategy to achieve the human development objectives set out in Vision 2020 and the EDPRS.
The most recent household living conditions survey (EICV 2005) indicates that 65.3% of the population aged 15 years are literate. There is a higher literacy rate for men (71.5%), than women (60.1%). MINEDUC, within the economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS) has set a target of having 85% of men and 80% by2015
Rwanda has chosen the path of multilingualism. This has economic, social and political justification. Apart from the mother tongue of Kinyarwanda, French and English have been introduced in all schools as curriculum subjects and as the language of instruction from primary grade 4. All three languages are found throughout the education system from primary to tertiary levels.