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Article 04/05/2022

Rwanda programme boosts female leadership in primary schools

We are seeing tangible results from our efforts to support female school leadership in Rwanda. Working closely with the Rwandan Education Board, our Building Learning Foundations (BLF) team has delivered effective training on gender and recruitment of middle leadership positions, boosting the share of School Subject Leaders in lower primary schools to 72%.

Rwanda has made significant progress towards gender parity – the country is ranked 7th in the world for gender equality and women hold the largest share of seats in the national legislature of any country. However, while a significant majority of primary teachers in Rwanda are female, primary school leadership remains predominantly male. Under BLF we aim to understand and address the systemic and societal norms causing this imbalance.

To establish an equitable, open recruitment system based on merit, the BLF team worked with almost 300 learning facilitators and district teaching advisors. We also supported the aspiring School Subject Leaders through a suite of professional development activities including face-to-face training, mentoring, school visits, study materials, and a SIM card with data connection for online Communities of Practice (CoPs) support.

Middle tier leadership positions such as School Subject Leaders are an important steppingstone for female teacher career pathways. Succeeding at this stage allows female teachers to:

  • Gain valuable leadership experience acting as a mentor or coach within the demands of a direct hierarchical relationship
  • Improve confidence, communication and self-advocacy
  • Develop professional qualification
  • Build career pathways towards higher leadership positions.

In recent years there has been a definite and growing interest in the power of middle leaders and female leadership in education. Emerging evidence shows that investment and support for middle tier leaders could drive lasting change in leadership structures in schools and beyond, and it is fast becoming a focus area for international funding.

We are committed to combating gender inequalities in school leadership and will continue to deliver context-specific and responsive approaches within our programmes. This includes our TARGET programme in Ethiopia where we are sharpening our focus on women in leadership in line with the Ministry of Education’s targets in this area.

Click here to read more about our Building Learning Foundations programme, delivered in partnership with the British Council and VSO.

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