In Rwanda, primary education is compulsory and free The conditions for free primary education in government-sponsored schools are determined by the Basic Law.
In 2017, the government spent 3.21% of its GDP (US$ 9.13 billion) on education (US$ 293 million) and 11.08% of its total expenditure on education. The education sector budget for 2018/19 amounts to FRW 273 billion (US$ 301 million).
National expenditures in inclusive education for 2019-2024
The ICRP Strategic Plan 2019-2024 identifies different actions to realize the outcome 4 on inclusion, which is to improve access to quality education for all children, including children with special needs, through local, innovative and inclusive approaches. The outcome 1, linked to the enrolment and retention of children with special needs and maximized inclusive quality education, is financed with FRW 7.2 billion (US$ 8 million) on a budget of FRW 13.2 billion (US$ 14.6 million). The key actions are the following ones:
To conduct awareness campaign to fight against stigma towards children with disability: FRW 173,568,000 (US$ 191 787);
To improve education of children with special needs: FRW 5,536,416,000 (US$ 6.1 million);
To update statistics on children living and working on the streets: FRW 152,208,000 (US$ 168 185);
To expand the alternative education model and assess its effectiveness: FRW 1,352,400,000 (US$ 1.5 million).
The share of external financing for education has decreased in recent years. It fell from 6.7% in 2015/16 to 2.2% in 2018/19. The United Nations Development Assistance Plan.
Families are required to pay the following fees: registration and tuition fees, uniforms and other sportswear, books and school supplies, school transport and school canteens and pensions.
The allocation of financial resources takes into account different variables:
by student (considering currency depreciation, the spending level has remained constant over the past four years (US$ 38));
by education agency and district (in 2018/19, the budget allocated to districts was FRW 143.5 billion (US$ 158.3 million) and to the Rwanda Education Board budget was FRW 23.3 million (US$ 25703));
by economic activity (in 2018/19, the development budget was 17% of the total education budget and the recurrent budget was FRW 226.5 billion (US$ 249,87 million).
However, it does not mention how money is allocated among these variables.
The most recent Education Sector Strategic Plan provides respectively RWF 3803 million (US$ 4.2 million) and RWF 2122 million ($US 2.3 million) to equip schools and to support 4,377 primary and 3,323 secondary students with equipment from 2013 to 2018 (on average 985 million FRW by year) ($US 1,09 million). In 2018, 0.36% of the total public education spending was reallocated to finance the School equipment programme. 7700 students benefited from this measure.
The Plan supports also specific initiatives to address barriers facing girls in primary schools (104 million RWF in 2017/18) ($US 114 729). The number of schools affected by these measures is not mentioned.
In 2018/19, the government spent in schools FRW 4.8 billion (US$ 5.3 million) in the sector of information and communication technology integration in education, FRW 10.6 billion (US$ 11,7 million) in education quality and standards, FRW 1.8 billion (US$ 2 million) in teacher development and management and FRW 6.3 billion (US$ 6.5 million) in curricula and pedagogical materials.
The programme on special needs cost FRW 44.64 million (US$ 49 245) in 2015/16, 139 598 100 millions RWF (US$ 154 000) in 2016/17 and RWF 200 574 675 (US$ 221 267) in 2017/18.
In 2017/18, in order to increase access for students with special educational needs, the government has spent FRW 200 574 675 (US$ 221 267).
Finally, the Revised Special needs and inclusive education policy claims that increasing capitation grants is a means of improving provisions at school levels to improve the quality of education at basic education levels between 2018/19 and 2023-24. However, “there is any evidence yet of an equally deliberate provision to schools in order to improve their capacities to offer quality of teaching and learning to learners with Special Educational Needs” (p. 15).
11.9% and 12% of nursery and primary schools respectively benefit from a school feeding programme.
School feeding programme
WFP and the Ministry of Education implemented a national school feeding programme for schools in poor areas and most food insecure areas in the western and southern Rwanda. 80,000 primary school going childre in 104 schools located benefited from this initiative.
From 2008-2017, the Ministry of Education awarded 165 students with different special educational needs non-refundable scholarships. The amount of this measure is not specified.
Other affirmative actions measures are implemented for girls so that they will increase their access and participation in secondary and higher education. The Girls Education Policy aims to provide free tuition fees for 20 girls a year who qualify for science or technology training and education. Scholarship programmes to girls from poor families will also be implemented by FAWE and PACFA. Finally, the First Lady’s national awards are awarded for the best performing girls and the School Campaign.
The Government allocated to the social protection sector corresponded to 94.3 billion RWF (US$ 104 million) in 2017/18, an increase of 32.6% compared to 2013/14. The budget allocated to child-focused social protection interventions was 9.2% (8.7 billion RWF) (US$ 9.6 million) in 2017/18. The percentage share of the social protection budget to GDP was 1.2% in 2016/17.
External financing of the social sector constantly fluctuates (26% in 2014/15, 12.1% in 2015/16, and 19.7% in 2017/18).