Rwanda is turning to faith-based organisations for land to build more schools in a bid to both ease congestion in classrooms and improve access.
This is contained in a five-year programme, where the government says more than 22,000 classrooms and 14,680 latrines are needed.
Faith-based organisations have already pledged to avail 107,284 square meters of land for the project.
The government turned to these organisations since the approximately Rwf180 billion ($200 million) funding that is available from the World Bank through its first comprehensive support for basic education, will only cover half the total cost, constructing 11,000 classrooms and 14,680 latrines in this year.
“We have turned to the faith-based organisations because they have free and available land to be developed, but the focus is on the state schools,” said Nociata Mukamurenzi, the coordinator of Single Project Implementation Unit that administers the Rwanda Quality Basic Education for Human Capital Development project.
Within 2019/2020, the government intends to develop over 2,704 new classrooms and 2,660 latrines within the government-aided schools, out of 9,000 rooms and 12,000 latrines are targeted to be built within the expansion of the already available schools.
The Ministry of Education indicates that under the project, a total of 2,000 new rooms and 2,660 latrines are set to be built at the new sites.
Western and eastern parts of the country are set to benefiting most as their students are most afflicted.
The government indicates that the project is meant to enhancing teacher effectiveness for improved student learning, improving the school environment to support student learningand developing the institutional capacity to strengthen teaching and learning “We are on a mission of curbing the over crowdedness in classes in a bid of improving learning outcomes and cutting down the long distances that students are still covering to get to school,” said Ms Mukamurenzi, adding that primary and pre-primary level are the most to benefit.
According to the recent Education Statistical Yearbook annual report, Rwanda classrooms are still averagely crowded and grappling with the basic facilities.
The 2018 report indicates that despite an increase in a number of classrooms from 31,927 in 2017 to 32,548 in 2018, the average pupil per classroom stands at 77 in 2018.
The report indicates that in state schools on average 85 students share a classroom while in government-aided 80 students are sharing a class, compared with private schools, which have 32 students per class.
Basic sanitation is also an issue as a single toilet is still being shared among 54 for students in primary schools. The project intends to enhance teacher effectiveness for improved student learning; through improving teachers’ English language proficiency and digital skills, support the professional development of math and science teachers in upper primary through lower secondary schools.
“Through building more classrooms is part of our contribution towards decongesting the classrooms and long trek the students to get to school,” said Smaragde Mbonyintege, the bishop of Kabgayi Diocese.
Government officials indicate that the construction exercises will kick off by the end of this month.