|Education for Reconstruction - Report for the Overseas Development Administration (DFID, 1996, 80 p.)|
Rwanda Fact File. 112
Population in August 1995
Killed in genocide/war
Refugees outside country
Children under 16 in 1993
Primary school children in 1993
Children under 17 in the army
Children in detention
112 TES, 18.8.95, p. 8.
Background to the Social Upheaval in Rwanda 1990-1994
On 1 October 1990,4000113 Batutsi refugees calling themselves the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF),114 deserted from President Musereni's army in Uganda and attacked northern Rwanda from Uganda; almost four years later, on 6 July 1994, a RPF-dominated government took over in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Although the rebels declared initially in 1990 that the political reform process in the country was inadequate and demanded that President Habyarimana as well as his counterpart from Burundi should go, many believe that the reason was simpler - namely, an attempt to take over the government of the country.115
113 Statistics vary in terms of the number
of soldiers involved. David Waller speaks of 4000 soldiers in Rwanda Which
Way Now? Oxfam UK, 1993, while the TES of 18.9. 95 mentions 10,000.
114 RPF is a creation of the Tutsi refugees who fled Rwanda, mainly between 1959 and 1966. Over the years the desire to return to Rwanda of the 600,000 refugees, including their descendants in Uganda, Burundi, Zaire and Tanzania remained strong (Historical Perspective: Some Explanatory Factors, The Nordic Africa Institute, December 1995, p.34). The political change in Uganda after 1986 and the involvement of Tutsis in the consolidation process provided a good framework for the planning of military innovations.
115 For a detailed analysis of the background of the war, see Tor Sellström & Lennart Wohlgemuth. 'The Tragedy in Rwanda in a Historical Perspective: Some Explanatory Factors', The Nordic Africa Institute. December 1995; Napoleon Abdulai (ed.), Genocide in Rwanda. Background and Current Situation (Africa Research and Information Centre, London, 1994).
After spectacular successes during the first week of the war, the RPF met resistance from government troops, aided by France, Belgium and Zaire.116 Subsequently, the war turned into a protracted guerrilla conflict, and between November 1990 and July 1992 the rebels gradually took a strip of land along a length of Rwanda's border with Uganda. A cease-fire was negotiated in Arusha,117 Tanzania in July 1992, but the ensuing 'Arusha negotiations' dragged on interminably, owing to fighting between parties.
116 Waller, op.cit.
117 For discussion of the Arusha process, see Tor Sellström & Lennart Wohlgemuth, 'The Tragedy in Rwanda in a Historical Perspective: Some Explanatory Factors', The Nordic Africa Institute, December 1995, pp. 43-49
When power-sharing arrangements were finally agreed in January 1993, the extremist Bahutu Party, the Comité pour la Défense de la République (CDR), emerged without any cabinet, posts and, together with elements of the National Republican Movement for Democracy (MRND),118 some of its members responded by killing political opponents and Batutsi in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. As a result, in February, the RPF - then perhaps 12,000 strong -renewed its attacks and doubled its territory in three days.119 The conflict in Rwanda that led to war and genocide can be described as a 'struggle between an increasingly worn-out regime and its challengers'.120 The one-party system was seen more and more as the obstacle rather than the road to further development.
118 MRND is the successor to the National
Revolutionary Movement for Development - the only party permitted to operate
between 1976 and 1990. Its founder and President, Habyarimana, dominated the
political scene for approximately 20 years (Waller, op.cit., p. 11).
119 Waller, op.cit., p. 11.
120 Sellström, op.cit., p. 36.
On 6 April 1994, the plane crash in which the President of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana was killed unleashed waves of massacres121 and within a period of three months at least 500, 000 people were killed.122 The first target of the genocide were Tutsi men and boys, regardless of age. Educated Tutsi men and women were particularly targeted as the university was 'cleansed'.
121 For discussion on the possible causes
and structures behind the genocide, see Sellström, p. 54.
122 Sellström, op.cit., pp. 53-58.
As of 18 July 1994 the new government of the RPF had taken over the leadership of Rwanda, a country now in shock and complete economic and educational disruption. With an economy that has virtually collapsed and nearly all institutions of local and central government destroyed, the task for the reconstruction of education seems daunting. Sellström and Wohlgemuth confirm that 'the current political situation gives little hope for a peaceful long-term development of Rwanda'.123
123 Ibid., p.63.
Inescapably, the war has had a devastating impact on the Rwandan school system. Before the 1990-1991 civil war and subsequent genocide in 1994, Rwanda was regarded as one of Africa's educational achievements, with more than 60 per cent of children in primary school, and a government which spent 22 per cent of its national budget on primary education.124 Unfortunately, some of the factors which incited the war can also be detected in the school system: only 6 per cent of children could enter secondary education. The frustration was heightened by a biased quota system for secondary and further education, aptly spelled out by an Oxfam analyst: 'No one feels they are being treated fairly. Education is falling between quality and scope... it is neither democratic nor equipping the student with skills... It is no longer a guaranteed passport to better life'.125 The reconstruction of education in Rwanda should therefore address an extremely broad range of issues that will be discussed in the ensuing section.
124 John Vidal, 'Life After
Death', Guardian Education. 18.4.95, p.6.
What Needs to be Done in Terms of Educational Reconstruction?
According to a survey of the literature on educational reconstruction processes currently underway in Rwanda, different interrelated phases can be identified, namely:
· an emergency and post-emergency phase which dealt mainly with displaced persons within Rwanda, as well as those who had fled to neighbouring countries after the genocide in mid-1994 126
· immediate short-term educational needs for people who are currently resettling in Rwanda
· long-term educational reconstruction in order to stabilise the country and provide a skilled labour force in order to enhance economic growth
126For the priorities of educational provision in this emergency phase, see Frauke Riller, 'Regional Emergency Education Mission: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zaire (27 October - 24 November 1994)'. Mission Report UNHCR. December 1994.
A widespread outcome of the war and genocide in Rwanda is the destruction of the buildings. When the Minister of Education in the new government, Pierre-Céléstrin Rwigma, took office in mid-1994, reminders of the war were evident in his office building -huge holes were in the walls; he had no windows and his garden was strewn with files; there were only two chairs in the ministry, and no paper, money, transport, or records.127
127 Vidal, op.cit.
The expansion of schooling is crucial, especially in terms of secondary schooling, as only 6 percent of the primary school leavers were privileged enough to enter secondary school. The new government has prioritised the further increase of schooling - when and if resources permit.128 In realising this, the government admits that the current expensive boarding school system for secondary schooling is no longer a viable and sustainable model for the country's demand for skilled labour, but new neighbourhood schools would have to be built in several areas.
128 TES, 18.8.95, p. 8.
In the current situation, the emphasis for physical reconstruction is on the rebuilding of damaged schools. Many secondary schools are still too badly damaged and remain closed, whilst those that have opened experience a shortage of laboratories and other teaching equipment. Four vocational schools that have been badly damaged are currently being renovated with German aid.129
The reform of Rwanda's school system enjoys priority from the new government which was formed on 18 July 1995 and which condemns the system for encouraging many of the intolerant attitudes which led to the genocide in mid-1994 and helped to establish the single-party rule of the former regime. The Ministry of Education is well aware that projects which encourage the democratisation of education as well as education for peace are paramount. UNESCO has been approached by the Ministry to assist with programmes that will facilitate and promote education for peace and tolerance. Moreover, the Ministry wants UNESCO, in co-operation with educationists in Rwanda and other agencies and experts, to devise a long-term curriculum in which democratic principles are embedded.130
130 UNESCO, interview,
One of the first decisions that had been taken by the new Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was the suspension of subjects such as history and political education or civics, because of the biased perspective of the teaching in those areas of the curriculum. Dr Gerard Ngendahimana, a civil servant responsible for the implementation of these reforms, confirms that work is currently being done in introducing a history curriculum free from bias, stressing that different ethnic groups should live together peacefully. Owing to the country's dependence on foreign aid, reforms that are brought in will be carefully examined by the international community. The government is also looking at the reconstruction of teaching methods, and plans to lay more emphasis on the skills of critical thinking. Plans are being made to teach children to question authority creatively and take responsibility in democratic decision-making processes.131
131 TES, 18.8.95, p. 8.
An important step in ideological reconstruction, eradicating obstacles towards the path to reconciliation, is the suspension of a most controversial selection process for secondary places, resulting in the so-called 'national' policy under the new government.132 The selection process is now on the basis of a purely academic selection admissions system.
132 Competition for places in Rwanda's
secondary schools, and highly selective boarding schools was fierce. The
'national' policy allowed the ministry to set quotas according to
ethnic, regional and socio-economic background. This discriminated against the
Tutsi and urban families and favoured the Hutu-dominated rural areas
(TES. 18.8.95, p. 8).
Moreover, national identity cards do not state the ethnic background of Rwandans, and children are encouraged to see their identity foremost as Rwandans. Thus education in which a redefinition of identity is to the fore should be encouraged by teachers and fostered through the curriculum.
UNICEF's programme co-ordinator, Thomas Bergman, warns that one of the daunting tasks the new government needs to deal with in the process of ideological reconstruction is securing stability within the country, which would in turn assist the process of economic recovery. He asserts that Rwanda is still threatened by an army in exile which is undergoing military training in Zaire at the moment. In addition, the possibility of further ethnic unrest between Hutu and Tutsi in certain areas such as Burundi impact on the prevailing political situation. Bergman underlines the fact that the new Rwandan government's chances of success 'depend on its ability to bring about reconciliation after the horrors of last year . The role of the schools, and a commitment to equal opportunities will be vital'. He further emphasises that 'the government has to be sure that there are no books, there are no documents, there is no training, no teaching, where there is any discrimination'.133
A prevalent feature which the literature on Rwanda reveals is the acute psychological trauma that still prevails among children. The genocide which commenced in April 1994 has been described by many as among the worst for such a short period of time.134 A circumstance that exacerbates the situation is that survivors of the genocide reported that in some cases teachers murdered children who attended their own classes.135 Moreover, schools were sought out as sanctuaries at the height of the genocide, only to become the scene of some of the worst massacres. The tragedy has therefore left deep scars in pupils' attitudes and perceptions of the schooling system. UNESCO and UNDP, as well as various NGOs, are introducing special trauma programmes. A special children's training centre and school near Butare has been opened for traumatised child soldiers who have witnessed violent scenes of war and seen mass graves.136
133 TES, 18.8.95, p 8.
134 Sellslröm, op.cit., p. 53.
135 Jeremy Sutcliffe, 'Tragedy in the Heart of Darkness. TES, 18.8.95, p.7.
136 Jeremy Sutcliffe, 'Traumatised Child Soldiers Return to School, TES, 18.8.95, p.7.
There is also a need to train teachers to deal with traumatised children, since many have behavioural problems. Agathe, a teacher in Rwanda states: 'What children need most is a routine with kindness and sensible discipline... they have nightmares or won't talk to anyone. We are learning as we go how to help them'.137
137 Guardian. 1.6.95, p.
Provision of Materials and Curricular Reconstruction
The launching by UNICEF, together with UNESCO, of an emergency teaching pack (TEP) to aid in the provision of materials has played a vital role in reconstructing primary schools in Rwanda. In addition to this 'mobile classroom', which includes slates, pencils and copybooks provided for almost 600,000 children, UNICEF has given a £20 'sign up' payment to 15,000 teachers and volunteers as an incentive to teach in primary schools.138 UNESCO has shipped in 9,000 cases and trained a core group of teachers to use the TEP. For most Rwandan children, the basic education which is provided by means of the emergency teaching pack is the only education they receive one year after the war (See Section 5.2 of our main report).
138 Vidal, op.cit.
The Ministry of Education, in partnership with UNESCO and other agencies, is currently working on long-term curriculum reform139 initiatives" and they meet regularly for conferences and workshops in Rwanda.140
139 Detailed discussions on curriculum
reform can be found in Gwang-Chol Chang in 'La Réhabilitation et la
Réconstruction du Système Educatif au Rwanda' UNESCO, 1994.
140 UNESCO, interview, 10.5.96.
The new Rwandan government, which has embarked on the process of opening primary schools since September 1994, is experiencing a critical shortage of skilled teachers. It is estimated that approximately 60 per cent of Rwandan teachers have died or fled to neighbouring countries.141 This is exacerbated by the fact that Rwanda had experienced a shortage of skilled teachers even before the war and genocide between October 1990 and April 1994. Only 61 per cent of primary teachers were qualified, with the remainder of the teaching staff being mainly older children with secondary education. The figure since 1994 has fallen to 48 percent.
141 Vidal, op.cit.
A vital source of qualified new teachers since 1994 has come from Tutsi refugee families who, owing to pressure from the Ugandan government, have repatriated to Rwanda after the war. Most of these new teachers were educated in Uganda, where 250,000 Rwandans have settled after previous persecutions dating back to 1959. Their coming to Rwanda helps to ensure that children in some primary and all secondary schools will be offered the chance to learn English and French.142
142 TES, 18-8.95, p8.
Realising the vital long-term need of human resource development, the new government is planning a programme for teacher training which would be funded by the World Bank, with assistance from the United Nations and various other agencies.143 However, the dire shortage of skills illustrates the fact that progress in effective teacher training will be a slow and cumbersome process.
Population and Demography
Following the genocide in Rwanda, approximately 2 million Rwandans fled to neighbouring countries, especially to Tanzania and Zaire.144 Since a substantial proportion of the refugee population consists of school-age children, education provision became paramount. The emphasis on the right of refugee children to education and the urgency of providing it as early as practicable was clearly stated by UNHCR's Executive Committee (EXCOM). The 'Ngara'-model in which the senior education officers of UNESCO-PEER, together with UNHCR, UNICEF, GTZ and NGO colleagues, formed an Emergency Education team in Rwandan refugee camps in Tanzania was implemented, which rested on the policy of education for repatriation, i.e. the use of the curriculum of the country of origin and refugee teachers, pending clarification of durable solutions. The Ngara model includes
· inter-agency collaboration
· data collection
· a phased approach
· teacher re-professionalisation145
144For more information on the effect of the war on refugees, see Sellström, (op.cit.), pp. 59-61.
145 For a full report on the Ngara-model in terms of education in refugee camps, see Riller, loc.cit.
In responding to the educational needs of refugees outside as well as displaced persons within Rwanda, UNICEF joined UNESCO in its efforts to develop an interim link between the absence of schooling and the resumption of regular schooling. The Teacher Emergency Pack (TEP) is utilised as an emergency and immediate response mechanism in the emergency phase.
Another growing concern according to Sutcliffe is the vast number of children still detained, a year after the war has ended, in overcrowded jails in Rwanda.146 Although children in prison camps such as Kigali receive basic education, they live in cramped and sordid conditions. Rwanda's judicial system is still being rebuilt, and a number of children's cases are under review, with the process being sped up by lawyers employed by the children's charity UNICEF.
146 Sutcliffe reports that more than 50,000
people are in prison, awaiting trial in 13 jails designed to take only 12.000.
The worst overcrowding is at Gitarama prison, where ten prisoners are herded
into space created for only one person. A total of 1,028 children are in prison
in the country, including 193 who have not been charged, Sutcliffe, loc. cit.,
Spry-Leverton147 states that a big influx of street children is expected in Rwanda's capital Kigali as some of the 100,000 children orphaned return after the war. Estimates of the children sleeping rough range from 600 to 4,000, depending on whether the children are documented or not. There is concern among relief agencies that the adults who are accompanying these children back to Rwanda will not be able to manage to feed them in the expensive city Kigali, and might thus abandon some of them. However, UNICEF, in partnership with the UNHCR, Save the Children and other relief agencies, is working with the Ministry of Rehabilitation in Rwanda to cope with the expected mounting numbers. Likewise, the Centre d'Acceuil, or Welcome Centre, funded by Caritas,148 a Catholic aid agency, has established three huts which function as a job-skills training centre for street children. Children participate in recreational activities as well as learning job-skills such as carpentry, horticulture and tailoring.
147 Information from the Internet, 22.3.96.
148 The first centre to cater for street children opened in 1988 funded by Caritas, and by 1993 Caritas was assisting two more homes, including a residential home for girls accommodating 30 boarders.
Organisational Frameworks for Reconstruction
Partnership over the past year among aid organisations, foreign expertise and the new government in Rwanda has made significant progress in addressing the short- and long-term educational needs in Rwanda.
The UNHCR report149 on the regional emergency education mission to Rwanda states that 'an unusual degree of inter-agency collaboration "was cultivated in Ngara. This especially applied to three UN agencies - UNHCR, UNICEF and GTZ - whose mandates encompass the relevant educational sector. The Ngara experience also shows that for effective collaboration with NGOs it is advisable to deal with a limited number of NGOs as implementing partners and accord them definite responsibilities in the education field. Thus, while each NGO handled education as part of its broader framework for community services within its designated refugee camp, the education sector was given considerable autonomy, which furthered the opportunities for inter-agency collaboration. The approval of the Tanzanian government in legitimating and approving the educational programmes run by various NGOs proved to be vital.
149 Riller, op.cit.
In order jointly to appraise the educational challenges in the emergency and post-conflict context in Rwanda, senior educationists and experts from UNESCO and UNHCR headquarters met at the UNICEF-Geneva Office from 6-7 October 1994.150
150 For a further outline assessing
educational needs and programmes that have been implemented in certain refugee
camps, see Riller, loc. cit.
Subsequently, in 1995 major conferences and workshops in co-operation with the government and under the auspices of UNESCO, in which various NGOs and relief agencies have been involved, addressed the short- and especially long-term needs for educational reconstruction in Rwanda.151
151 UNESCO, interview,
As several political commentators have underlined, the current scope of the political situation in Rwanda leaves little hope for peaceful long-term development. In a seminar in Uppsala in early 1995, Catherine Newbury summarised the preconditions for reconciliation, mentioning the following key points that are imperative for the country's future:152
· end the legacy of violence and culture of impunity
· material reconstruction
· broad political solutions, including orderly repatriation of refugees
· reconstitution of the social fabric
152Sellström, op.cit., pp. 63-64.
In all of these daunting challenges, education will play a major role. Thus, the prioritising of educational reconstruction should remain both a short- and long-term goal of the new government in partnership with aid organisations and the wider international community.