This blog is written by Catherine A Honeyman, Senior Youth Workforce Specialist at World Learning and visiting Lecturer, Duke Center for International Development at Duke University. Catherine is also the author of a case study on accountability and education in Rwanda commissioned for the 2017/8 GEM Report. The blog is part of a series showing that accountability in education is shaped by a country’s history and political, social, and cultural context.
Background: Rwanda’s education system
Rwanda has been part of an impressive global record of achievements in improving access to education—and it has also been part of the worldwide struggle to ensure that children who are in school actually learn. Rwanda’s accountability practices and policies, in all their strengths and weaknesses, are a key piece in understanding this larger puzzle.
Challenges in education quality
An enthusiastic supporter of the Millennium Development Goals, Rwanda was an early achiever of universal primary education and gender equity in schooling. Yet significant challenges still remain. Why are 50% of grade 1 students, 26% of grade 2 students, and even 14% of grade 3 students reaching the end of the school year without being able to read even a single word in Kinyarwanda? On the other hand, what made it possible for the percentage of literate grade 1 and grade 2 students to increase by about 10% over the past few years?
In an immediate sense, these are questions about teacher practice and pedagogy, and perhaps about parental engagement and the availability of quality learning and teaching materials. But stepping back, we arrive at broader questions of policy, financing, formal and informal institutions, and accountability. Continue reading