What we achieved
Before we participated in this process, parents were not involved in the planning and decision making at school. During meetings I would often read off a piece of paper informing people about our decisions, not involving them. Now we take a whole new approach to improving our schools; parents are becoming more involved because they feel that their voices and opinions are valued, and this translates beyond the classroomHeadteacher
With strong political commitment to gender parity, Rwanda is ahead of many other African countries in promoting gender equality in education. In the Nyaruguru district, girls’ enrolment at primary level is around the same as that of boys.
However, at secondary level girls tend to be admitted to lower quality schools and are more likely to drop out.
Barriers include poor teaching quality and school management, community expectations of girls’ roles, economic hardship, and low level sexual and reproductive health resulting in poor menstrual management and increased risk of teenage pregnancy.
Many Parent Teacher Associations have plans to improve schools and make them more girl-friendly but lack knowledge about literacy, teaching methods and school governance to achieve their goals.
Aims and objectives
The purpose of this project was to support school improvement in the Nyaruguru district through a holistic, partnership-based approach, in turn supporting girls (as well as boys) to complete their education and enter employment.
We brought our school performance review to Rwanda for the first time, engaging with and empowering communities to work with school stakeholders towards improvement. This involved working with the Rwanda Education Board to develop and pilot tools to evaluate:
- Teaching and learning
- Leadership and management
- Community engagement
- School governance
- Gender responsiveness
District education staff were trained in how to assess schools using these criteria, and schools were supported to share the results with parents and the wider community. As a result, plans for whole school improvement were developed to meet the needs of all children, including the most vulnerable girls.
We introduced community study groups led by Link-trained volunteers who used fun, game-based exercises to reinforce literacy and numeracy skills for those most at risk of falling behind and dropping out.