UNICEF-supported schools win national award in Rwanda

UNICEF Image: Rwanda, Girls' Education
© UNICEF Rwanda/2008/ Ngoboka
Children recite a poem during Rwanda's first annual National School Awards, which recognize excellence in education, especially the promotion of girls' education.

By Cyriaque Ngoboka

RUBAVU, Rwanda, 2 October 2008 – UNICEF-supported schools have distinguished themselves in Rwanda's first annual National School Awards ceremony as part of a campaign to encourage girls' education and to help all children succeed.

Twelve schools – six primary and six secondary – were awarded for their achievements in promoting quality education for all children. Two of the six primary schools are child-friendly schools. Criteria for receiving an award included the school environment, girls' retention strategies, recreation facilities, coaching for underachievers and guidance for girls to enrol in the sciences.

More than 551 representatives of school communities and over 3,000 others, including children, parents and local leaders, witnessed the ceremony. In total, 60 schools have won district awards for their efforts and have become role models for other schools in Rwanda.

Recognizing achievement

In collaboration with UNICEF and other partners, the Ministry of Education organized the event to reward and recognize school achievement and to focus attention on the importance of girls' education.

In Rwanda, 76 per cent of girls and 81 per cent of boys are enroled in primary school. Secondary school enrolment drops to 11 per cent for boys and 10 per cent for girls. Yet girls' education in Rwanda is still facing major hurdles. At both levels, girls have higher drop-out rates and do not perform as well on exams as boys.

One of Rwanda's goals is to institutionalize efforts to raise a generation of educated women. Minimum quality standards for schools have been developed with a focus on improving hygiene and sanitation in schools – also a critical issues for girls.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
Procurement Consultant
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