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World Bank and other donors give Rwanda $70million to reduce class sizes

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Kigali: Rwanda has been given a grant of $70million to help government expand access to education – with the goal of reducing the teacher-students ratio by 25 percent in the next three years, RNA reports.

The grant approved Wednesday will enable government to hire more teachers, get new materials and improve school management systems. Government wants to cut class sizes from about 70 students to less than 50 for every teacher.

The total grants released by the Education for All - Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI) - a multi-donor program, for 3 countries including Rwanda, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea, amounts to $180million.

Kigali welcomed the new grant saying it would help guaranteed nine years of quality education for all its children by 2015, including three years of lower secondary education.

"… we had the political will to do this -- but we did not have the money. Today, Rwanda has one qualified teacher to 63 children. This new FTI funding will allow us to reduce that ratio to one teacher teaching 47 children,” said Sharon Haba, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary.

“And we want to reduce those numbers further year by year so all children receive a really quality education.”

Government data shows that the number of children enrolled in primary school increased by 4% per annum and average school completion rates rose from 53% in 2000 to 75% in 2008. With these growth numbers, government says it wants to focus on reducing drop-out and repetition rates, particularly for girls.

“No Rwandan children of school age are now left behind, and out of school," said Haba.

The financing will also focus on expanding science and technology teaching.  

The EFA FTI is a global partnership of donor and developing countries, multilateral institutions and civil society organizations, dedicated to ensuring that all children receive quality basic education. It includes about 30 donors partners including the World Bank.



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