Rwanda has announced it will spend up to 20% of its total budget on education with the aim of expanding access to education.
The size of the country’s annual budget is about $2.47 billion; thus education will consume approximately $494 million.
“20% of our budget goes to education, providing 12 years of free education for all,” President Paul Kagame said Tuesday, during the official launch of the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, in Norway.
The United Nations is calling upon world governments to adopt Rwanda’s style of promoting education for all, by pumping bigger part of their budgets into education.
“First step to rising education enrollment is increasing government expenditure like Rwanda has done, pushing it to 20%,” Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister and now United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education said.
President Kagame said his government also involves the community in resource mobilization to fund the sector.
“We must encourage local communities to actively involve in expanding access to education,” Kagame told the summit.
Before the 1994 Tutsi Genocide that claimed a million lives, access to education was limited and segregative along ethnic lines, with less than 2000 university graduates in 30 years.
Twenty one years later, Rwanda has the highest primary school enrollment level at 78% in the whole of sub-Sahara Africa, Kagame said.
However, Kagame, who was on the penal with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, Gordon Brown, Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg and Malala Yousafzai- 2014 Noble Peace Prize winner, told the summit that collective policies to develop education sector in Rwanda has been his primary priority.
Prime Minister Solberg said the world still needs a lot of commitment to ensure all children have access to education.
“121 million children and youth across the World are out of school. They are denied their rights to education,” she said.
For Malala, “The right to education for every child is just as basic as the right to food.” She called on world leaders to make education a priority before other things.
“Books are a better investment in our future than bullets,” said the Noble Peace Prize. The two-day summit brought together world leaders, education experts and members of the private sector to discuss new strategies for investment in education for all.