Private Schools in Rwanda shuts down due to Grwoth of Public Schools

More than 30 Private schools in Rwanda have shut down this year and many more face an uncertain future following dwindling admissions as parents increasingly take their kids to public schools.

Desperate proprietors who face closure of their institutions are now asking the government to sponsor students in private schools at public rates but the government has rejected the idea.

According to reports by Rwanda Today, school owners who managed to stay open are struggling to meet their operational costs. Samuel Batamba, the head teacher at College Nkunduburezi in Gakenke District said, 'We’ve suffered a sharp decline in the number of students enroled, yet the school has accumulated debt, unpaid salaries and owes arrears to suppliers. It is not clear if the school will re-open'.

The “problem” started with the government’s twelve-year basic education policy which made public schools affordable and preferable. According to the report, the Ministry of Education invested hugely in expanding capacity and teaching infrastructure at public schools across the country; introduced the school feeding programme and abolished school fees.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, the government owns 460 out of the more than 1,575 schools in the country. The rest are run by religious bodies with the Catholic church owning 620 schools, the Anglican church 279, Adventist church 22 and Muslim schools are at 16. Another 178 schools are run by parents’ associations and individuals.

Mr Batamba continued to lament saying most private schools used to have around 900 students but now they barely have 80 students and they are failing to attract new students.