Investigating The Dynamics of Power towards Basic Education Investment In Rwanda and Sierra Leone
“I believe that we have reached a stage the economic development of Africa where moving forward is perilous, moving backwards is cowardice and standing still is suicidal but we must persevere because winners do not quit and quitters never win.” (PLO Lumumba)
Hey!!!!!!! welcome, it’s about time you take a tour around the African Continent, this journey will forever be insightful. All it takes is ten minute of your time.
The Myth In Africa
With enormous natural resources, geographical wings, oceans, and heritage, Africa remains to be the cradle of beauty, and that is without repentance. The continent has been a hotspot not only at a global level but at the individual pocket of the conceptual west. By the look of things, this should be a call for celebration, or at least such news should gear towards an all night African regional party. However, contrary to this wondrous land that is full of gifted and shifted diverse beauty, the continent has always struggled with an ever-existing myth, which is #Governance Crocker,A.(2019). For starters, governance means everything in Africa. The realms of development depend on the gleams of political leaders. Since pre and post-colonial era, Africans depend on their leaders to play the hard line of strategic thinking, economic freedom, and continental growth Crocker,A.(2019). In Africa, the state has absolute control over the trajectory of an individual nation, hence making all else revolve around governance. The world needs Africa to develop. Such development should not only be one-sided; instead, the globe envisions Africa to share what is called ‘The epidemic of development’ – meaning that development must be #contagious Kitimbo, A. (2017). What this means is that Africa has all it takes to lead the world. Although this might be hard to reflect upon, the only myth stopping Africa has been governance. Indeed, if this is fixed, the other side of the story will be written in golden ink. The continent currently shares 25% of the total membership in the United Nations (UN); this does not dispute the fact that Africa has been suffering from individual national conflicts UN.(2015). The numbers have proven that almost ten African countries have battled with resolved and unresolved wars between the year 2000 to 2019 despite independence Crocker, A. (2019).The wings of governance still affect Africans; two out of every five Africans live below $5 a day Kaiser.(2010). Governance means everything to Africa.
The Economist has classed the continent as unequal. This was the same adjective used to describe Latin America and China a decade ago. Agreeably, such occurrence might prove the words of British economist Richard M. Auty, “Africa is cursed with wealth” Kitimbo, A.(2017). If these words are not true, probably the extensive research done by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) will help clear the doubtful minds. According to the IIAG, 33 out of 54 African countries have been able to officially provide the fundamental needs of society.
The gold medal goes to countries like Mauritius, Botswana, and Cape Verde, while South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda hang on to the silver medal given their history. The sunset of conflict has prevailed in countries like Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Nigeria due to bad governance. The African whiteboard is still painted with issues like Corruption, Poverty, War, Hunger, and Education.
Why Should you Keep Reading
As much as this piece will love to keep the vibe of whistle blowing, this blog gears to Inform great minds about the “Dynamics of Power towards Basic Education Investment In Rwanda and Sierra Leone”. As stated above on the “Myth in Africa”, this blog reaffirms the importance and delicacy of Governance In Africa.
Rwanda Has Work to do Regarding Basic Education
The Land of a Thousand Hills has approximately 3,071,987 primary learners in 2018. This number is predicted to increase to 3,546,840 students in 2030. What this means is that the enrollment ratio will be a red pole if nothing is done regarding basic education. As it stands, the net enrollment rate at the pre-primary level increased from 17.5% in 2016 to 20.6 % in 2017 Unicef.(2018). In total, 220,435 children were enrolled in preschool education, and the gross enrollment rate has remained far above 100% among girls and boys in primary schools.
As the enrollment rate increases, so do the educational expenses. Middle-class income parents are still on their knees, praying for a savior, not to talk of the poor deprived families who suffer a worse predicament.
However, this does not change the fact that Infrastructure, together with Agriculture, is not booming. What this shows is that there might be a greater priority from the government in other sectors. The budget allocated to education has increased significantly between 2014/15 and 2018/19. The money line so far has been from 235.3 billion to 273 billion Rwf . It is reflecting an increase of 16% and 11% of the total budget. However, the education sector as a share of the national budget, indicates a declining trend, from 13.4% in 2014/15 to 11% in 2018/19. Also, despite the increment, Rwanda spends less than Ethiopia and Botswana, who allocate 24.2% of its total budget towards basic education Unicef.(2018).
In Rwanda, primary education takes a big part of the entire education budget; for instance, 104.5 billion Rwf out of 273, billion Rwf was allocated to primary school in the 2017/2018 budget. Despite this effort, the teacher-to-pupil ratio in primary school has only reduced from 61:1 in 2014 to 59:1 in 2017 Bower, J.(2019). This is an essential indicator of resources allocated to education because it encompasses many crucial aspects such as teacher’s salary, and working time. Basic education is key for national development. #Catch them while they are young.
The stakes are high, and until such concerns are voiced out, the government might not consider this blindspot. 10% of students between the ages of 6 to 10 years drop out of school every academic year (Bower 2019). Although such an occurrence might be explainable, what is absolute and factual is that 25% of students at the age of 7-10 drop out because of financial problems (Bower 2019) . Primary education has not received the rain that could yield multiple harvests in Rwanda. The storyline is still the same, 6% of teachers are double shifters. This proves that passion has been mixed with interest. To date, there are existing policies that demand review. There are no available inter school-related programs, in this part of the world, it’s like everyone minds their own business (Menya,2019).
Even if such development takes place, research has shown that the effective measure has not been entirely healthy. School feeding has been a “De facto”; what this means is higher school fees. What Rwanda has done over the years has been a step going forward, yet it does not dispute the fact that there are T’s to cross as well as I’s to be dotted.
Let’s Get Down to West Africa
At this point why not grab all you can on this knowledge quest. It might not have been interesting, surely the Journey has been Insightful. A little time spent on this blog will unravel the interesting part of this piece.
In Sierra Leone Basic Education Is Known as the New Direction
It is without reasonable doubt that the existence of Education has shaped the outcome of individual African nations; thus, Sierra Leone is not an exception.
According to the Sierra Leone Education Country Status Report (SLECSR, 2013), the consultation on education during the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held in Dakar in March 2013, reaffirmed the value of Education as a human right and its decisive role in maintaining socio-economic development (Watt, 2018). The SLECSR 2013 Report shows that there have been significant successes and challenges in the education sector of Sierra Leone. The frequent occurrence has been accessing school and gender parity. Although there are substantial improvements, many setbacks prevent equitable access and the delivery of quality education for all.
UNESCO report (2015), listed Sierra Leone as one of the world’s poorest countries. In this report, it was evident that half of the population, which accounts for 15%, is illiterate, Irrespective of the existing natural resources that the country is endowed with (Thomas, 2018). The context of basic education is totally different compared to Rwanda. In Sierra Leone, 14% of the total schools do not have access to Sanitation, Health care, and Proper school Infracture. What this means is that the stake is critical in Sierra Leone Okello. (2018).
According to the Standard-Times News Paper, the reason for this stagnation of primary education was as a result of the influx of political transition. The incumbent has proved this; as such, the Lion Mountain has stopped roaring. It’s like the lion has become voiceless. The past government left only ten school buses in the entire country (Okello, 2018). Multiple sources have confirmed that 10% of students from age 6 – 10 years old go to school hungry. School feeding becomes a recently implemented program by the incumbent, as teacher – student ratio remains at 61:1 ( Thomas, 2018). The government has not been able to control the action of teachers in the first place. Basic Education is in a rampage, because the government pays Sierra Leonean teachers at a measure that does not bring them a smile. Over five years now, past and present governments have been fighting the great war #GhostTeacher. What this means is that certain teachers are not in the system yet teaching, while those doing the hard jobs cry daily for their pay. Compared to Rwanda, 6% of schools have noisy background and they are located in market areas. This, for the most part, has disturbed the learning environment in Sierra Leone. Although technology has been a leading bird for Global Education Revolution, this has not been a beauty reality in Sierra Leone. Students having laptops is like a dream come true. In such a time, schools are still using chalk boards, and young kids have corporal punishment in schools. The story has not changed, but that does not mean it will not change.
There Is light at the End of the Tunnel In Rwanda and Sierra Leone
Quite recently, there have been salient political moves by the two heads of state.
H.E President Julius Maada Bio (Wisdom) paid a diplomatic visit to H.E President Kagame (Understanding). In this context, one could say wisdom met with understanding, governing the history, both countries are making a rapid change regarding the status of Basic Education in both Rwanda and Sierra Leone. In Rwanda, the real goal is to improve 17% net intake to 45% by 2025. This also cut across from 32% of primary to secondary transitioning to 95% by 2025. According to Their World article (2018), President Julius Maada Bio fulfilled one of his key election promises that he had made that he would launch a free education program for 1.5 million children in primary and secondary schools. The President also said he would donate three months of his salary towards the program. Part of his education promises included free schooling, a near doubling of the education budget from 11% to 20% of public spending, more qualified teachers, new classrooms, and an expansion of the school meals program.
As a way to show its seriousness, the government warned that parents would be fined or even jailed if they did not send their children to school. A special hotline was set up in case people had complaints related to the implementation of the program on both the side of the government and guardian. The President reaffirmed that parents should provide uniforms, shoes, and the traditional role of home supervision and coaching as a way to assist the government in their wish to better education in Sierra Leone. This ultimately shows the commitment of the Sierra Leonean government towards the building of their education sector, with the President taking the first lead into its implementation and success.
As it stands, the President Kagame still advocates for an increment of the current basic education budget from 250 billion Rwf to Rwf 310 billion by 2025. If this is done, there will be strategic moves. The plans are visionary, as consolidated, both countries hope to build 3,000 government schools by 2030. In line with this, the new direction is hoping to have one Laptop to one student as well as an improved teacher ratio of two students per one teacher by 2030. Sierra Leone and Rwanda shares common history. An existing green light is the fact that both leaders understand the problem and they are fighting it at a different speed.
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Watt, E. (2019). Free schooling, budget doubled and better teaching in Sierra Leone’s education revolution. Retrieved 12 December 2019, from https://theirworld.org/news/sierra-leone-free-education-budget-doubled-better-teaching-president-bio
Presse, F. (2018). Sierra Leone launches free education for primary and secondary children. Retrieved 12 December 2019, from https://theirworld.org/news/sierra-leone-launches-free-primary-secondary-education
Thomas, R. (2018). Sierra Leone launches free school education. Retrieved 12 December 2019, from https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/sierra-leone-launches-free-school-education/
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Kitimbo, L. (2017). Governance in Africa: What do the numbers tell us?. Retrieved 12 December 2019 fromhttps://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-02-27-governance-in-africa-what-do-the-numbers-tell-us
Okello, C. (2018). Sierra Leone makes schools free but scraps university subsidies. Retrieved 12 December 2019, from http://en.rfi.fr/africa/20180824-sierra-leone-universities-free-school-education-begins