KIGALI - The government and the World Bank yesterday signed an agreement that will pave way for the disbursement of $ 35m (approx Rwf20bn) under the Fast Track Initiative (FTI), a crucial fund in support of government’s policy reforms which aim to improve the quality of basic education.
The signing fulfils the total of $105 million allocated to the country under this initiative.
Specifically, the grant will support; teachers’ development, the establishment of a framework for the implementation of decentralised procurement and school level selection of text books and the implementation of the girl’s education policy.
“This adds value and commitment to the entire sector. This contribution is very important because it targets those key areas of basic education,” said James Musoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who represented government at the signing.
Musoni underscored the need for more investment in education, saying it is fundamental for the country to achieve its Vision 2020.
“If we do not get education right, others are also at risk…you cannot talk about wealth creation when you lack knowledge and skills,” he said, stressing the need to fast-track education for human development.
“When you look at our indicators, capacity - skills of teachers at transition to secondary level, is one that is lagging behind,” he said.
According to Musoni, the number of qualified teachers needed in schools is still low compared to the ratio of students.
He added that despite the fact that the country is on track to achieve education for all Rwandans; there is still a big challenge of achieving goals of the 9-Year Basic Education Programme (9YBE).
The government is racing against the clock to construct over 3,000 classrooms before the beginning of the next academic year, which will accommodate students on this programme.
Speaking to The New Times, the Minister of Education Dr. Charles Murigande said that Rwanda has continuously won the FTI fund because of her determination to remain on track or even surpassing the required standards.
“This fund is normally a benefactor to developing countries to fast track the implementation of Education For All, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals. It states that at least all people have six years of formal education, a target we have gone beyond by introducing the 9YBE programme,” explained Murigande.
The Minister added that the money was going to improve two major areas in the education sector which include access to education and improving the quality of education.
“We are going to use the funds to build classrooms in the ongoing construction, training teachers, improving the education content to ensure qualitative education for our children.”
In her remarks, Mimi Ladipo, the World Bank country manager commended government for being on track to achieve universal education for Rwandans.
Overall enrolment of pupils in lower education has increased from 72 percent in 2000 to the current 92 percent under the initiative.
“We look forward to continuing working with our partners in helping Rwanda achieve its objective of universal 9 year basic education in future,” Ladipo said.
The signing of the MoU graced the closure of the three-day Joint Review meeting of the education sector which had brought together the Ministry of Education and development partners.