The International Finance Corporation (IFC) yesterday kicked off its support to private schools by helping them access loans from the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) under the existing partnership between the two institutions.
This support which is hinged on a cost-sharing basis, is in the form of a business development plan and other direct services to schools that will enable them to meet the lending requirements of BRD and be used as an operational tool for the management of their businesses.
Schools will also have access to the wider advisory services that will ultimately improve the quality of education delivery through other training components.
Mid last year, IFC established a risk sharing facility with BRD that would enable the bank to increase its lending to the education sector by up to Rwf 7b and over 58 percent of the facility has already been utilized.
According to the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), 13 private schools and 3 student hostels with a total enrolment of 25,158 students have already accessed Rwf 3.8bn in loans.
“MINEDUC is also supporting this programme by providing funding of Rwf 1.5b to BRD to further expand the private sector education portfolio. Half of the money has already been dispatched,” Dr Mathias Harebamungu, the Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC said.
He added that apart from the strong regulatory framework put in place, the Government also committed to invest $81m in the public education sector from 2007 to 2010.
Despite the country making important gains in the education sector, Harebamungu, confessed that there is much more to do to meet the long term education plans.
“This is particularly at the secondary and tertiary level (vocational, technical and higher learning institutions) where the role of the private sector is seen as increasingly important and crucial. Despite the impressive growth over the last six years, private education providers still face major challenges,” said Harebamungu.
Jane Odoka, the IFC manager in charge of East African schools said that the commitment had been spurred by the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015.
“Private schools are however limited in their ability to provide quality education due to limited access to appropriate finance and targeted advisory services to help them improve their operations and that’s where we come in,” Odoka said.
IFC, a private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group has made a number of investments in Rwanda’s Education management information systems, infrastructure, tourism and financial sectors.