A small group of IKEA co-workers from the Netherlands, who worked hard to drive sales during the Soft Toys for Education campaign, have the unique chance to visit educational projects in Rwanda funded by the IKEA Foundation. Before they go and share their experiences with you, here’s a blog post from Hugh Delaney, an education specialist for UNICEF in Rwanda.
I have been working with UNICEF Rwanda for over three years now and have witnessed the great improvements that have been made for children in Rwanda.
More and more children are going to school. In 2012, 96.5% of primary-school-aged children were enrolled in school (98% of girls and 95% of boys).
But quality is just as important as enrolment rates. UNICEF is at the heart of the education sector in Rwanda, and we’re helping improve the quality of education in Rwandan schools in several ways.
Whenever I visit a school, I see the improvements taking shape before my eyes. School buildings are more child-friendly. More schools have toilets for both boys and girls. Children have places where they can wash their hands and get clean water to drink. More children are going to—and finishing—school. Teachers have better access to teaching resources, such as textbooks and readers. And teachers are making their lessons more fun and relevant to the children, helping them learn.
“Ever since UNICEF helped establish a teacher resource centre, we have been able to improve our own knowledge and the way we teach, thereby improving the way students learn and perform,” explains Viviane Mutarutwa, a teacher at Rubingo Child Friendly School.
Challenges remain, of course, including ensuring that all children can attend and complete a basic cycle of education and improving the number and quality of pre-primary school programmes. But the policies and services that UNICEF is spearheading will go a long way towards giving children the best start in life.