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Rwanda Education and Training



The 1994 Rwanda genocide turned the country's school system into a mess. An ambitious program for reconstruction, and large government grants for education, has meant that almost all children now start primary school and a clear majority complete it.

More than nine out of ten seven-year-olds start in the duty-free and formally compulsory six-year compulsory school, and just over 70 percent complete it. More than half of the 13-year-olds continue to the three-year high school, where the proportion of girls is higher than the proportion of boys. Only about 10 percent pass through the same three-year high school.

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2011 became English language teaching at all levels. Previously, primary school students had been taught in Kinyarwanda, and then taught in English or French. In 2016, the regional language kiswahili became a compulsory subject in high school. The schools are run by the state or Christian mission associations.

Despite the recovery since the genocide, the school is still faced with some problems, such as excessive classes and lack of textbooks and other school material.

Rwanda's national university is located in the city of Butare. In order to better adapt higher education to the country's needs, Kigali's scientific and technical institutes, which since 2006 also have a university status, were started in the late 1990s. There is also a teacher's college, a technical college, a business school and a few universities affiliated with church organizations.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

93.9 percent (2017)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

58 (2017)

Reading and writing skills

70.8 percent (2014)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

11.1 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

11.1 percent (2017)



The government denies torture in the army

October 11

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye dismisses a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that extra-judicial arrests and torture occur in the Rwandan army. HRW claims to have documented 104 cases between 2010 and 2016 but claims to believe that the actual number is significantly higher. According to the report, the victims are usually accused of cooperating with the "enemy", which among other things refers to the FDLR hut movement, which is based in Congo-Kinshasa. The Minister of Justice says there is no "credible evidence" for HRW's duties.


Regime critics are charged with violations of state security

Regime critic Diane Rwigara, who was not allowed to run for office in the presidential election (see August 2017), is charged with counterfeiting and state security violations.

More opposites are reported to be arrested

September 7

Two parties that are not recognized by the government - FDU-Inkingi and PDP-Imanzi - state that several of their high ranking members have been arrested by police.


President Kagame reelected

August 4th

President Paul Kagame is re-elected for a third term with 98.8 percent of the vote (in the 2010 election he got 93 percent). Kagame is challenged by F rank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party - the only allowed opposition party - and Philippe Mpayimana who is running for independence. The challengers fail to win more than 0.48 and 0.73 percent of the vote, respectively. The turnout is reported to be just over 96 percent.


The army is accused of murder

July 13

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses Rwandan security forces of killing at least 37 suspected criminals instead of detaining them. According to HRW, the murders have occurred between July 2016 and March 2017 in western Rwanda, and they appear to have been part of an official strategy aimed at spreading terror and stoking all opposition to the government. Justice Minister Johnston Busingye dismisses the report as "completely false".

Two candidates will challenge Kagame

July 7

The Election Commission approves two opposition candidates in the August 4 presidential election: Frank Habineza for the Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana. Three aspirants, including the only female candidate, are rejected when they fail to collect 600 signatures from citizens around the country.

"A climate of fear prevails"

July 6

Amnesty International criticizes Rwanda's government for "the climate of fear" that, according to the human rights organization, prevails in the country ahead of the August presidential election. Oppositionists are harassed and at least one opposition politician has been murdered. This is the culmination of many years of repression by regime critics who are imprisoned, threatened and forced into exile, according to Amnesty.


Debate censorship is criticized

June 1st

A demand by the Election Commission to preview candidates' posts on social media ahead of the August presidential election provokes consternation. The decision is said to be to prevent statements that could create uncertainty or conflict. The opposition fears that the rules will be used to silence criticism of incumbent President Kagame. Foreign diplomats in Rwanda are raising similar views, and the media monitoring authority Rura says the electoral commission has no power to silence the debate as long as it stays within the law. Rwanda's Foreign Minister also defends the right of citizens to express themselves freely.


The last king is buried

January 15

Rwanda's last king Kigeli V is buried in the presence of hundreds of people, including the Minister of Culture, in the former royal capital Nyanza. Kigeli had lived in exile since 1960, from 1992 in the United States where he passed away in October at the age of 80.



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