EDUCATION - The number of children joining primary schools has increased compared to figures five years ago. The Education Minister, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya has attributed the rising enrollment to the inception of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme since 2003.
The programme has enabled huge numbers of school dropouts to immediately rejoin school, she said. Following the 1994 Genocide, close to 800,000 children joined primary schools but a few years later the number doubled to over 2,000,000 following government’s assurance of free education.
Whereas net enrollment of pupils was rated at 74.5 percent in 2002, Mujawamariya said the figures compiled this year indicate that there has been an increment to 97 percent.
“We are really reaping very positive results from the universal primary education arrangement, though not yet verified by the National Institute of Statistics, figures show that enrollment has gone up to 97 percent,” Mujawamariya said.
Mujawamariya explained that completion rate (pupils who finished school without dropping out) was 29 percent but has now increased to 84 percent. She said that the transition rate was 43 percent in 2005 and now stands at 59 per cent.
However, the minister said the government is still faced with a big challenge of increasing the number of secondary schools to cater for the overwhelming number of primary leavers.
She is however upbeat that government will next year build more secondary schools.
She added that pupil enrollment is likely to reduce as Rwandans understand the policy regulating births and adhering to family planning programmes.
Apart from constructing secondary schools, Mujawamariya said vocational training will be strengthened to enable pupils who fail going for secondary schools opt for vocational courses so as to fit in today’s competitive job market.