The Minister for Education, Dr Eugène Mutimura has commended this year’s female performance in science subjects describing it as ‘highly promising’ and a boost to efforts to get more women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Mutimura said this while officially releasing results for candidates who sat their Senior Six, Technical, and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and Teacher Training College examinations in 2017.
Mutimura pointed out that the government was determined to advance STEM subjects but, in particular, the policy also encouraged for more females to join.
“The government policy is to strengthen and prioritise STEM subjects, especially among female students,” he said.
The government has been on a mission to transform the economy by 2020, in part by promoting careers in STEM fields.
According to Mutimura, 30 per cent of the ten best candidates in science subjects were female. “If you look at the best 10 candidates who did Physics, Chemistry and Biology, we have 50 per cent females, if you look at the best ten candidates in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, we have 20 percent, Mathematics Chemistry and Biology, we have 40 per cent females, if you look at Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, 100 per cent best are female students, if you look at Biology Chemistry and Geography, 75 per cent of the candidates are female and if you look at Mathematics Computer Science and Economics, all; 10 meaning 100 per cent best students are female,” he said.
Mutimura said that the statistics highlight the fact that the range between 40 and 80 per cent is the one that shows that females are performing.
The State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, said, “I have been looking at individual performances and of the five best students in Physics, there is a girl. In Chemistry, a girl is in third place on the national level, and this is an indication that also girls have the ability to excel at science subjects.”
At least 50 per cent of the best 8 candidates of Mathematics, Physics and Geography are female.
The Ministry of Education says that the number of females studying STEM continues to rise with latest statistics indicating that in 2015, 55.1 percent of girls in secondary schools opted to enroll in science classes, up from 48.7 per cent in 2011.
Currently, 80 per cent of students in Rwanda receiving government scholarships pursue STEM programmes.