Public school fees capped at $85 to meet Education For All national goal

Wednesday September 21 2022

Parents are spared a sharp rise in school fees after the government agreed to offer additional funding to schools to navigate the extended school terms. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda has set school fees for primary and secondary public schools to a maximum of Rwf85,000 ($85) per term to make schools more affordable. This is almost a week to the beginning of the academic year starting September 26, 2022 as the government doubles efforts to contain school dropouts and increase completion rates.

The decision comes amid a recent drastic increase in the cost of living in the country, which has seen inflation rise sharply to double digit this year to a record high of 20.4 percent in August despite interventions by the central bank.

The cap is expected to offer relief to parents under intense financial pressure as the cost of almost all the basic items in the country has gone up over the last six months.

The Minister of Education announced on Wednesday that all public and subsidized pre-primary and primary schools are free. The announcement stated that parents are responsible for providing needed school equipment and a contribution to the school feeding program of Rwf975, less than $1, per term.

Secondary school students will pay Rwf19,500 ($20) for day scholars and Rwf85,000 ($85) for boarding. The decision takes effect on September 26 as the new academic year 2022-2023 begins.

Education sector reform


Before the guidelines, schools and parent committees were authorized to set the amount of school fees depending on the needs of the schools and district authorities would approve the decision.

Over the past two years, due to changes brought upon by Covid-19 and the increasing cost of living that followed, schools raised school fees to as high as $200. Parents applauded the decision as some public schools were pricing themselves out of the reach of many.

The number of school dropouts shot up in rural areas when schools were reported from Covid-19. Some districts recorded numbers as high as 8,000 children who did not report back to school.

The increase was attributed to the pandemic and hiking school fees. Rwanda is implementing a series of reforms to improve the quality of education. Recently, the government announced an 80 percent salary increase for local teachers and plans to recruit more foreign teachers from Zimbabwe.

“I am relieved. I was going to pay Rwf240,000 for my two sons in secondary school but now I will part with only Rwf40,000,” said Therese Mukamwiza, a mother of three sons who attend the Lycee de Kigali.