Education Development Trust (EDT) hosted the first ever National Symposium on Girls’ Education in Kigali, Rwanda last month. The two-day event brought together over 100 education sector delegates, including the education minister and other high level policy makers and civil society actors.
In his opening remarks the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Twagirayezu Gaspard, noted that the ministry has set new strategies to improve education quality for all, including girl-targeted strategies and a review of the Girls’ Education Policy.
"I challenge each one of us in this room today to renew our commitment to eliminating any barriers to girls’ education. Finally, we appreciate the partnership that we have with FCDO through Building Learning Foundations which is improving learning outcomes for boys and girls in all our primary schools in English and Mathematics and we look forward to continuing sustaining this impact."
The British High Commissioner to Rwanda H.E., Omar Daair, said that the UK used its G7 Presidency to bring urgency to the global education recovery, so no girl is left behind in education. Newly agreed global targets include giving access to school to 40 million more girls in primary and secondary school in low- and middle-income countries by 2026.
The event also provided a space for civil society organisations to present findings from their work. Our Girls’ Education Challenge-Kenya team leader shared how the UK Aid funded Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project is changing the lives of girls in arid and semi-arid areas of rural Kenya, and our Building Learning Foundations (BLF) team presented findings from their 2021 Barriers to Girls’ Education report. This included how gender inequalities in higher education take root much earlier than anticipated and that the Covid-19 crisis has disproportionately affected girls in Rwanda. The team also shared proposed interventions for safeguarding and girls’ clubs within schools.
"In Kenya we have learnt that to achieve improved learning outcomes for girls, we need to invest in good quality teaching that is gender responsive, create a welcoming school environment, and address persistent gender inequalities and stereotypes through STEM subjects"
Rosa Muraya Team Lead, GEC-Kenya.
At the end of the two-day symposium, the participants agreed upon nine key recommendations, with specific recommendations for the Ministry of Education, Rwandan Education Board, and National Examination and School Inspection Authority (NESA):
1. Promote girls in STEM – the revised Girls’ Education Policy should lay out a plan to increase girls’ participation and achievement in these subject areas
2. Eliminate school-related gender-based violence, including physical and humiliating punishments for girls
3. Improve primary girls’ learning, achievement and transitions to secondary – tackling drop-out and quality of learning
4. Increase women in school leadership positions – this included a new government target for female head teachers
5. Increase access to information and support for Sexual Reproductive Health, including menstruation – improving infrastructure and resources across all schools and addressing absenteeism
6. Mobilise parent and community support for girls’ education
7. Reduce teen pregnancy/ supporting new mothers’ re-entry
8. Target learning support for girls with disabilities, including earmarking budget and collecting more data
9. Eliminate girls’ exposure to sexist ideas, toxic masculinity and negative representations of gender
Watch highlights from the event in the video below:
We were delighted to welcome the UK's Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, to the Second National Symposium on Girls' Education, organised by our Building Learning Foundations (BLF) programme in Rwanda on 31st August 2023.
We were delighted to host the UK’s Special Envoy on Gender and Equality, Alicia Herbert OBE, as part of her visit to Rwanda to attend the Rwandan government-led Women Deliver summit. On the second day of her visit, Ms Herbert visited our Building Learning Foundations (BLF) Programme to observe a girls' club activity at GS Mburabuturo, a government school located in Kigali.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has given Building Learning Foundations (BLF) a rating of A+ in its 2023 review. It is the second time BLF has achieved this excellent rating since starting in 2017.
In recent years, huge strides have been made in girls’ education. In many countries, girls are now just as likely to attend primary school as boys. More girls than ever before are finishing primary school and transitioning to secondary education, and in many countries, female university graduates easily outnumber their male counterparts. So why do we still need to talk about girls’ education? In this article, we explore the systemic challenges which continue to prevent many girls from accessing and completing high-quality education, and the implications of these inequalities for millions of girls and their communities worldwide.