Collective efforts boosted education sector - Premier

The country has made huge strides in the education sector, thanks to the commitment of Rwandans and the support from development partners, Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi told lawmakers on Monday. He was briefing a joint parliamentary session on the progress, so far, in the implementation of the 12-Year Basic Education (12-YBE) programme and future prospects.
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (L) greets Senate VP Bernard Makuza as the minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs, Protais Musoni, looks on. The New Times / T. Kisambira
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (L) greets Senate VP Bernard Makuza as the minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs, Protais Musoni, looks on. The New Times / T. Kisambira

The country has made huge strides in the education sector, thanks to the commitment of Rwandans and the support from development partners, Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi told lawmakers on Monday.

He was briefing a joint parliamentary session on the progress, so far, in the implementation of the 12-Year Basic Education (12-YBE) programme and future prospects.

“We have put a lot of efforts in building a nation based on the knowledge and skills of our people,” the premier noted.

Habumuremyi noted that while in 1994, there were 820,232 pupils in primary schools, the number rose to 2,341,146 in 2011.

Primary schools increased from 1,283 in 1994 to 2,543 in 2011.  The pupil to teacher ratio improved from 1:76 in 2003 to 1:58 today, Habumuremyi observed.

He stated that primary school enrolment stood at 95.4 percent. Girls constituted 50.9 percent in primary schools; 51.5 percent in secondary schools (2011), and 43.8 percent in higher institutions of learning in 2010.

The premier thanked Rwandans for their outstanding contribution in the construction of the Nine-Year Basic Education (9-YBE) classrooms over the past three years.

“In the past three years of the 9YBE programme, the money required was Rwf 102,384, 800,000; of this government contributed 37 percent while Rwandans and development partners provided 63 percent.”

Implementation of 12-YBE

Habumuremyi said the government plans to reduce the number of students in classic education, and increasing the numbers in technical and vocational schools.

He noted that the number of students in senior four in 2012 will be 79,710. Those destined for the conventional education system are 43,840 (55%), while 3,986 (5%), 19,275 (24%) and 12,609 (16%) will go to TTCs, TSSs and VTCs, respectively, he added.

The premier underscored plans to scale up technical and vocational education and training (TVET) infrastructure, with a particular emphasis on the construction of more schools.

He noted that there were 35,870 positions meant for TVET and TTC students. These will be availed by establishing day and evening training shifts, a voucher system in private schools, among other strategies. He outlined the most targeted professions as hospitality and tourism; agriculture and food processing; ICT; renewable energy; and art and craft. The budget required for 12-YBE is about Rwf 32 billion in 2012, Rwf 40 billion (2013), and Rwf 65 billion in 2014.

The Prime Minister added that the  government plans to put more emphasis on learning the English language, construction of more class rooms, ICT, regular school inspections, increasing the number of better qualified teachers, to help improve the quality of education.

MPs acknowledged and appreciated the highlighted accomplishments but raised questions that ranged from the plight of Genocide survivors; teachers’ housing and salaries, persons living with disabilities, to energy to power laptops, especially in the OLPC scheme.

Hon. Julienne Uwacu sought to know whether the government was mindful of how a population explosion can harm the achievements in education, urging for mechanisms to help check population growth.

Geovanni Renzaho put the Head of Government to task over the quality of the country’s graduates, noting that as the number of students increase, attention to quality should not be compromised.

Senator Evariste Bizimana advised the government to put more emphasis on vertical blocks rather than horizontal ones, when constructing schools, so as to cater for issues of land scarcity.

The Head of Government called for further collaboration between the government, citizens and development partners to ensure quality education.

james.karuhanga@newtimes.co.rw

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