Rwanda records reduction in school dropout rate

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Rwanda records reduction in school dropout rate
Rwanda records reduction in school dropout rate

Africa-PressRwanda. The Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente has said that the government has intensified efforts to reduce the rate of school dropouts, currently standing at 8 per cent.

Among the initiatives, the PM told both chambers of parliament on Tuesday, December 1, include pushing for community cooperation.

He disclosed that the rate of school dropout in primary is at 7.8 per cent and 8.2 per cent in secondary schools.

According to the Premier, the target is to ensure all primary students complete school, and reduce the trend to at least 1per cent in secondary schools by 2024.

Ngirente was updating lawmakers on the progress made towards improving the education sector in line with the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1).

He said that there is a need for parents and local leaders to join hands in ensuring that children stay in school.

“There are places that you go to and children are running around in markets or mining sites. It is not the government’s responsibility alone to follow up these children. Grassroots leaders and parents must take the lead in this,” he said.

Although the numbers are a big contrast from 2013 when school dropout in primary school stood at 15.6 per cent and 20.9 in secondary, Ngirente said that the government is doing everything possible to fix the education system to ensure such challenges are eliminated completely.

Increase in number of teachers

To fix some of the issues, Ngirente told the MPs that the government intends to increase the number of teachers this fiscal year by 18, 092 teachers in primary and by 6,463 in secondary schools.

“Generally, the 2020/2021 school year that kicked off in November this year will require 28,748 teachers who will be an addition to the 64,480 that we already have. These new teacher occupy 22,505 new classrooms that are currently under construction that we expect to be complete by December this year,” he explained.

In the area of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), Ngirente said that 445 teachers are in the process of being hired and they will be added to the 4834 that are already working.

Nursery schools

He informed the MPs that since 2017, the government and its partners continue to increase the number of nursery schools and in the last three years alone, there has been a 6.7 per cent increase.

In addition, although the target is to increase enrolment into these schools to 45 per cent by 2024, currently it stands at 24.6 per cent.

In terms of quality, in this 2020/2021 fiscal year, the Government flagged off 580 teachers who are qualified to teach in these public nursery schools, a big addition to the already existing paltry 32.

Teacher incentives

Without divulging details, Ngirente said that the government is putting together a package that will be a collection of incentives for teachers. He said that the package may include housing, training, higher education opportunities etc.

However, he pointed out that currently there is a program that is in place that evaluates teachers based on their innovation, delivery and experience. He said that this will be based on promotion to determine their incentives including making some of them heads of institutions.

Ngirente added that the government’s decision to continue covering 50 per cent of the tuition for any student who is aspiring to be a teacher will continue but also, education will be placed on the same priority list as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“The students who perform well and choose education as their course of choice will be facilitated with scholarships and living expenses just like we are doing for the students pursuing STEM,” he said.

Other ideas

Commenting on the school dropout rate, the Minister of education; Valentine Uwamariya said that there was a need to look into the reasons why students continue to drop out of schools.

“The assumption is that the students fall off after primary school but in actual sense, a number of them do not even make it to Primary Six. We need to find out why and find ways to fix this but we need cooperation from everyone,” she said.

MP Barthelemy Karinijabo suggested that the government should heed the teachers’ request to be placed in their districts of choice.

“I am suggesting that teachers should be supported. When the exams have been done and lists are ready, placement should be done in such a way that teachers are placed in the districts of their choice,” he said.

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