May 2021 – Rwanda: Fifteen months into a global pandemic and Rwanda is making every effort to re-open its schools to students. But with many children in remote areas with little to no facilities, the added challenge of COVID-19 has plighted an already stretched education system. Rwanda’s Ministry of Education has dedicated vast resources to developing the accessibility of learning throughout the country.
Huge strides had already been made in the education sector prior to the pandemic with free schooling being extended to 12 years, however the restrictive measures now needed, paired with the expansive areas that require schooling coverage is no easy task for any education ministry.
GPE (Global Partnership of Education) has been working tirelessly in partnership with international NGOs, the World Bank and Rwanda’s Ministry of Education in order to implement key funding to support Rwanda’s long-term strategy ‘National Strategy for Transformation and Prosperity’, where education is a key component. COVID-19 has meant priority changes in the strategy’s direction, but the central core values of strengthening the quality and accessibility of education to Rwanda’s younger generations remain.
The knock-on effects of the pandemic have meant higher unemployment and a rise in poverty, with the most vulnerable in society being hit the worst. GPE’s funding in partnership with the World Bank has provided schools in numerous areas with a school feeding programme, ensuring that children from deprived backgrounds are given a lunchtime meal.
Considering how to manage re-opening Rwanda’s schools during COVID-19 has been at the forefront of GPE’s partnership working and with an allocation of US$10 million, it has been imperative for safeguarding measures to be implemented as quickly as possible to minimize disruption in education. Vast increases in water tanks and hand-washing facilities have been brought into schools across the nation, with provisions for temperatures checks and face masks also supporting efforts to keep students in safe and healthy school environments. The longer-term outcome of such an investment means that the building of a more resilient education system can take place with immediate effect, to protect it from future crises.
00:00:00 - 00:00:30 - GVs, landscape surrounding Kigeme School (GS Kigeme)
00:00:31 - 00:00:40 - GS Kigeme - Children running in front of WASH station.
00:00:41 - 00:01:36 - GS Kigeme - Various children, others using WASH stations.
00:01:37 - 00:02:07 - GS Kigeme - School Feeding Programme, cooking stations, kitchens.
00:02:08 - 00:02:22 - GS Runoga - Children using WASH stations.
00:02:23 - 00:02:45 - GS Runoga - An English lesson in progress.
00:02:46 - 00:03:03 - GS Runoga - Teacher marking papers.
00:03:04 - 00:03:22 - Gaspard Twagirayezu at work.
00:03:23 - 00:03:48 - INTV Rwandan Minster for Education - Partnership with GPE on remote learning.
00:03:49 - 00:04:30 - INTV Rwandan Minster for Education - Construction of Hygiene Infrastructure.
00:04:31 - 00:05:11 - INTV Rwandan Minster for Education - School Feeding Programme
00:05:12 - 00:06:00 - INTV - GS Kigeme School Representative – School Feeding Programme
INTV - Gaspard Twagirayezu - Minister in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education
00:03:20 - 00:03:45 - Partnership with GPE on remote learning.
When the schools were closed we had to make sure that learning did not stop. So, this is why we have been engaged in developing content for remote learning. We have developed content for TV, for radio and for the internet. And GPE’s support has been very instrumental in making sure that happens by supporting the development of the courses and the broadcasts.
00:03:46 - 00:04:27 - Construction of Hygiene Infrastructure.
The first thing was to make sure that the school’s administrators and students have all the required information. This is why with the ministry of health we have developed guidelines to ensure that everyone knows about COVID-19 and how it transmits and how it can be prevented. This includes properly wearing masks, washing hands and keeping distance. With the support from GPE we have been able to build washing stations across different schools and this was to make sure that students are able to wash hands as often as possible.
00:04:28 - 00:06:45 - School Feeding Programme.
Through back-to-school campaigns we have been engaging communities and parents to make sure that they help as many children as possible to come back to school. We have also been expanding school feeding from secondary schools to all grades and this is because research has shown that when students have been able to get meals at school they study well and they can stay longer, so in order to do that we have been investing in infrastructure including kitchens and other related infrastructure to make sure that every kid that comes to school will be able to get their meals at school.
INTV – GS Kigeme School Representative – School Feeding Programme
00:05:12 - 00:05:19 - It’s almost Noon. They are going to eat, rest a little bit and then continue their studies.
00:05:20 - 00:05:24 - This helps a lot. When they used to go home to eat, some of them could not come return the same day.
00:05:25 - 00:05:36 - Some of them might even discover that there was no food at home, and this would cut off their courage to come back to school.
00:05:37 - 00:05:41 - From this programme, school attendance is 100% assured.
00:05:42 - 00:05:56 - Now that they can eat regularly, they are able to work on their studies and no longer feel the need to sleep while the teacher is teaching.