COVID-19 response

Rwanda is the first country to be approved for COVID-19 funding and received US$10 million to address the immediate education challenges posed by the pandemic and contribute to building a more resilient education system for future crises.

Allocation: US$10 million

Years: 2020-2021

Grant agent: World Bank

Key documents:

The GPE program supports the equitable expansion of remote learning opportunities by broadcasting curriculum-aligned radio lessons, along with promoting the use of alternative audio-visual materials on TV and on social media.

To ensure the safe return to school of all students when the lockdown ends, the existing model of school grants will be revised to include COVID-19 response measures:

  • increasing the provision of hand washing facilities and water tanks
  • establishing catch-up programs for students at risk of repetition or dropout
  • supplemental grants to provide lunch and learning materials to the most vulnerable pre-primary and primary students for the first term after reopening.
  • training teachers in school safety guidelines through radio, television and online channels.
  • a back-to-school campaign to educate students and the community at large on disease prevention and ensure all children, including girls and children with disabilities, return to school.

These initiatives are based on the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Rwanda received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education with the overall development and implementation of remote learning, as well as overall coordination of the education sector response to school closure.

Education in Rwanda

Rwanda has made great strides in education over the past couple of decades. The government has shown considerable commitment to the sector through various initiatives, including through providing free and compulsory education for nine years of basic education. Free education is now being expanded to 12 years of education.

The government has also undertaken the major reform of changing the curriculum, switching from knowledge to competence-based, and thus make it responsive to the needs of learners, society and the labor market.

Despite these successes, Rwanda is still facing challenges in ensuring better learning outcomes, building teacher capacities, improving gender equality, and reducing dropouts and repetition rates.

The Education sector strategic plan covers the period 2018-2024. It has been developed through collective efforts of the ministry of education and relevant stakeholders in the education sector, keeping in mind these challenges. Its conception is based on a wide consensus and the plan is linked to Rwanda’s long-term strategy for development called the National Strategy for Transformation and Prosperity, in which education is one of the central pillars.

The overarching objective of the strategy is to develop skills to strengthen the quality and relevance of education, and to better prepare students to meet the demands of the labor market.

The new curriculum requires major changes in the teaching methodology and the use of a wider range of assessment techniques. In response, the sector plan proposes 9 strategic priorities:

  1. Enhance the quality of learning outcomes that are relevant to Rwanda’s social and economic development.
  2. Strengthen continuous professional development and management of teachers across all levels of education in Rwanda.
  3. Strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across all levels of education to increase the relevance of education for urban and rural markets.
  4. Enhance the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to transform teaching and learning and support the improvement of quality across all levels of education.
  5. Increase access to education programs, especially at pre-primary, primary, secondary, TVET and higher education levels.
  6. Strengthen modern school infrastructure and facilities across all levels of education.
  7. Give equitable opportunities for all children and young people at all levels of education.
  8. Perform more innovative and responsive research and development in relation to community challenges.
  9. Strengthen governance and accountability across all levels of education.

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Latest grant

Development objective: enhance quality and efficiency with inclusivity in basic education for a knowledge-based economy.
Allocation: US$30,800,000
Years: 2020-2024
Grant agent: UNICEF
Utilization: US$30,242

The Rwanda Education Sector Program Implementation Grant (RESPIG), funded by a $30.8 million grant, is premised upon the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP 2018-2023) priorities and has four components:

  1. Teacher training in curriculum delivery with emphasis on English and teachers’ English proficiency and inclusive education by:
    • Providing multimedia equipment to the University of Rwanda College of Education and 16 teacher training colleges
    • Strengthening school-based mentorship program to self-learning though the online courses and its face-to-face elements
    • Supporting to the training unit and staff to develop a training framework to guide the implementation of school-based mentorship
    • Training teachers in inclusive education in targeted schools.
  2. Curriculum development and procurement of teaching and learning materials, readers, and materials for learners in pre-primary and upper primary, including for children with special educational needs by:
    • Developing, printing, and distributing teaching and learning materials and readers with a focus on STEM
    • Procuring and distributing early childhood education kits
    • Providing equipment and software required for digitalization, and digitalizing learning in primary and lower secondary education
    • Developing digital content for the competence-based curriculum
    • Providing smart-classroom equipment to targeted schools in lower secondary schools including alternative technologies to schools without connectivity
    • Inducting 50 head teachers and teachers responsible for ICT in the effective use of smart classrooms.
  3. Enhancing STEM in pre-primary, primary and lower secondary by:
    • Procuring science kits and laboratory equipment
    • Providing materials for leaners with disabilities in 20 schools
    • Building capacity of head teachers and teachers in the effective use of the science kits and how to use local resources to augment the kits in the teaching of science.
  4. School infrastructure in lower secondary through the construction of resource rooms in targeted junior secondary schools.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020-2021 10,000,000 0 WB  
Program implementation 2020-2024 30,800,000 30,242 UNICEF  
2015-2018 25,200,000 25,200,000 FCDO Completion report
2011-2014 70,000,000 70,000,000 FCDO  
2007-2010 70,000,000 70,000,000 WB  
2009-2010 35,000,000 35,000,000 WB Completion report
Sector plan development 2017-2018 323,570 323,570 FCDO  
Program development 2019-2020 121,776 121,776 FCDO  
2018 78,223 78,223 FCDO  
  Total 241,523,569 200,753,811    
Data last updated: October 04, 2021

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting the Rwanda Education For All Coalition (REFAC) for the 2019-2021 period.

This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.

GPE had provided the Rwanda Education For All Coalition (REFAC) with a grant from the CSEF to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Rwanda, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

Primary completion rate

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated September 10, 2021