- Ingabire Veneranda/ SPIU Coordinator/Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
- Charles Munyaneza, Associate Education Officer, UNHCR
Introduction to the project
We believe that by 2020 all primary and secondary school refugee students will be enrolled into national schools (currently almost 90% are integrated) .
At the Leader’s Summit in 2016 the Government of Rwanda committed to integrate 50% of refugee children in primary schools and 100% in secondary schools, integrating them in the national education system. It has gone beyond that target, with 90% of all refugee children integrated in primary and secondary national schools.
In light of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), the Government of Rwanda committed to integrate refugee children into the national education system. Refugee children study the same national curriculum along with host community children in schools close to the camps. This has helped social integration as well.
By providing refugee children the opportunity to study alongside host community children and graduate with the same national qualifications, it equips them to access jobs, go into higher education and improve their conditions in the country of asylum.
The goal of the project was to provide refugee children with access to national education by enrolling them in the national education system. This would improve the learning conditions and facilitate access to education which leads to refugee children receiving a recognised national certification when they complete their schooling, which is good for potential employment an/or further education in Rwanda.
The 2016 Leaders Summit in New York, where different Governments including the Government of Rwanda made commitments for refugees’ inclusion to national systems, paved the way for the inclusion of refugee students in the national education system. UNHCR, recognizing the critical value of this, has supported the process by constructing over 500 additional classrooms in existing national schools in order to upgrade their absorption capacity. This has permitted refugees and national students to share the existing resources, follow the same curriculum with the same teachers and access the same certification.
- Government of Rwanda (Ministry of Emergency Management, Ministry of Education, Districts)
- Would Bank
- ADRA, Rwanda
- Would Vision, Rwanda
Challenges and how they were overcome
Among challenges that may hinder the process:
- Language barriers and discrepancies between education systems including curriculum from country of origin and host country.
- Overcrowded classes.
- Attitude and cultures barriers.
How challenges are overcome:
- Language barriers and discrepancies between education systems including curricula. The Government and partners organized a six-month orientation programme that helps to bridge the gaps for refugees and refugee teachers prior to integrating in the national education system. This six-month program is composed of a series of training in English, civic courses and teaching methodologies. Both refugee teachers and students are prepared for the process of integration
- Overcrowded classes: In order to reduce the size of large classrooms and minimise the pressure of admitting refugee students to existing schools, UNHCR and the government constructed additional infrastructure, including classrooms and latrines.
- Attitude and cultures barriers can negatively impact the process of inclusion. In order to mitigate this risk, it was decided to include all communities in the process, both refugee and Rwandans are involved in the integration process (school management- PTA, teaching) and other community activities
Results of the Good Practice
- The project has contributed to the protection of young refugees who are now happy and have managed well to adapt to the new education system. As they are performing well, their enrolment has dramatically increased
- The integration has contributed to social cohesion between refugees and the host community where friendships between children are extended to families from refugee camps and host communities.
- The program is contributing to an improvement in socio-economic profiles as refugees are graduating with national qualifications. This will help to link up with the national opportunities, including the job market and further education.
The project will continue by improving the learning conditions adding more education facilities including new subjects in upper secondary school, libraries, laboratories, IT rooms, girls’ rooms.