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Rwanda: UK Pledges £12 M for Girls’ Education

by Daniel Sabiiti
9:48 am

Minister Irere Claudette and Minister Andrew Mitchell(Left and Right respectively) on panel with students

The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and partners have agreed on building a coalition to advance and strengthen girl’s education engagement following success stories recorded in implementing the Building Learning Foundations (BLF) programme.

The resolution was reached during the 2nd National Symposium on  Girl’s Education held in Kigali this August 31st, 2023 bringing together the government and its stakeholders  in the education sector.

The symposium was attended by UK’s Minister for International Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell as well as the Minister of State for Education Claudette Irere.

The BLF approach to gender equality in schools was done in Teacher Development (Gender Responsive Pedagogy and focal teachers); Leadership for Learning (Training of local leaders on Gender), System Strengthening (Girls Education Policy and Inspection Framework) and  Pilot Girls Clubs activities.

BLF activity reports presented at the symposium showed that there has been improvement in girl’s education, for instance, in English proficiency and mathematics uptake.

In English, the percentage of P1-P3 girls at their grade proficiency level increased by 34%, from the baseline (from 19% to 53%).

In Mathematics, the percentage of P1-P3 girls at their grade proficiency level increased by 24%, since the baseline (from 16% to 40%) even when girls from rural areas slightly demonstrated more challenges than those in urban areas.

Minister Irere Claudette

In implementing the  Girl’s clubs programme in 42 pilot schools in 10 districts  targeting 1200 girl participants (87% female) witnessed an overall improved child confidence to achieve educational goals from 38.50%- 77% with girl’s confidence at 77% and boys at 76% (2022-2023).

A survey on the impact of the clubs showed that all children who attended were interested in studying sciences and 97% of them were girls.

Also 94% of girls believed that boys and girls are equally skilled in STEM; and girl’s confidence in achieving educational goals was at 76.9% (versus boys at 75.8%).

Girl beneficiaries said that the girl’s clubs have been very helpful in improving their self-esteem, knowledge and skills around sexual reproductive health and rights and called for an increase in such activities at the community based levels.

To sustain such activities and having sector-wide commitment to overcome the specific remaining barriers for girls’ education, UNICEF Rwanda and UK government signed a £12million partnership which focuses on keeping girls in school and supporting children with disabilities for the next seven years.

This is part of the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded Girls In Rwanda Learn (GIRL) programme which was announced by the UK Government in 2022 at a tune of £60 million.

Silas Bahigansenga, BLF Team Leader said that the GIRL programme will sustain and promote girl’s education, gender-responsive education and also buildup on the successes of the BLF programme as sustainability is needed at the end of the programme.

Participants at the symposium

Charles Karakye, the Permanent Secretary MINEDUC said the Ministry has put in place several policies to eliminate all forms of gender inequality in education, working with partners which has seen positive results.

“We hope that this symposium will tap into the already existing resources to make recommendations that will support our girls to learn and achieve in school,” Karakye said.

BLF is a programme of the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) that aims to improve learning outcomes in English and Mathematics for learners at primary level in all public schools in Rwanda. The programme has a focus on Girls and Inclusive education to ensure no child is left behind.

The programme began in 2017 and was funded through the British High Commission in Kigali with a budget worth £50 million set to close this September.

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