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.
Country facts of Rwanda, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
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
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FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
93.9 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
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
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
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
President Kagame reelected
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
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
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"
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
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
The last king is buried
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.