Education and Gender

The Rwandan Government has prioritized education of girls and Gender Development is recognized as a key component in improving economic and social well being.

The Rwandan Government has prioritized education of girls and Gender Development is recognized as a key component in improving economic and social well being.

The Government is full aware that investing in Girl’s education contributes to the achievement of critical social objectives like decreased fertility and infant mortality, increased child health and improved productivity.

Among the missing 25% of children in education, an estimated 400,000 children who are yet to enroll or have dropped out of primary school, are mostly girls.

In addition, in almost all primary schools in Rwanda, orphans and vulnerable children represent a large portion of the school population and they are probably the first to drop out due to problems faced in foster families, orphanages or account of their being heads of households.

These children requires more than formal classrooms, as their special circumstances of life will not permit them to enroll, stay in school and do well in it like every other child.

The main challenge remains in the reduction of disparities in terms of gender, geographic location and social economic groups.

The Government is full aware that investing in Girl’s education contributes to the achievement of critical social objectives like decreased fertility and infant mortality, increased child health and improved productivity.

Reasons for the Gender Gap

Girls are facing problems in their education, as early as primary Education. Indeed access rates for boys and girls are similar at primary level, but the gender gap does exist for performance, retention and repetition.

According to the Ministry of education statistics, only 20.0% of girls pass form 6(primary 6) exams, when 31.6% of boys do (2003 results).

The gap widens in secondary education (26.8% of girls pass secondary 3 exams when 49.3% of boys do so (MINEDUC statistics for 2003), and even more at tertiary level (only 26% of girls graduated at the national University of Rwanda, Butare in 2003).

A number of studies have already shown the reasons of gender disparities in Rwanda. First of all, a macro-level factor, Overall poverty induces inadequate allocation of resources for education.

HIV/AIDS pandemics, war and genocide with their consequences on girls and women and this add to the difficulties.

Secondly, socio-cultural factors hinder the education of the girls: some parents attitudes whose expectations on girls and boys are different in favour of boys especially in the context of poverty, child labour, early marriage for Girls, Gender socialization are the main causes of Gender disparities. To address these issues, mentalities need to be targeted through an informed advocacy.

Thirdly, legal and policy factors need to be addressed. Until recently, there was no national Girls’ educational program. There were limited and poorly coordinated interventions and implementation of existing laws/policies are at times slow or difficult.

Statistics

A mother’s education directly correlates to increasing an infant’s chances of survival, increasing the chances of children’s good health and increasing the ability of women to practice effective family planning. All of these contribute to the promotion of a healthier and happier society.

Disparities in access to Government Secondary Schools directly impacts girls’ education. The education provided by Private Secondary School generally tends to be more expensive and of a lower quality than at Government Secondary Schools.

Success rates at the primary level have a direct impact on the rest of a girl’s education, with a lower score limiting her options of Government Secondary Schools. The disparities in performance rates between boys and girls are dramatic throughout primary and secondary education.

As there are lower percentages of girls who have access to secondary education, as pointed out in the previous table, the lower performance rates of girls lead to an alarmingly low number of female students who advance to university.

Disparities based on category and level of schools

There fore the difference seems to be at two levels : the rate of promotion in the two secondary education sub levels which add up to 100%.

The rates of class repeating are also different between the two sub- levels : 10.4% (9.1% in 2003) at the levels of the entire general education certificate level compared to 5.3% (6.4% in 2003) at the advanced education certificate level.

These rates differ depending on the legal status of the schools (public and private schools). It is more important at the level of public schools.

The supply of education services has particularly been dominated by the private sector: on 504 schools that Rwanda had in 2004, only 29% (19% in 2003) of them were public schools 27.6% ( 28% in 2003) were subsidised schools and 43.3% (53% in 2003) belonged to the private sector. These national averages hide major differences and disparities between Provinces since.

For instance, 77.6% (85% in 2003) of secondary schools in Kigali city council were privateThe analysis of all secondary schools has demonstrated a difference between General school certificate education (the first three years of secondary school) and the higher or advanced certificate of education level (the last three years of the secondary education) on 100 students admitted in the first year of secondary school, only 65 reach the third year.

At the higher certificate level, the rate is 65.9. Thus, the average rate of survival in secondary school is 35.3% (43% in 2003).

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