The school system has been given a central role in the work that is to prevent a recurrence of the events during the 1994 genocide. The six-year primary school is compulsory from the age of seven and is divided into two cycles. The secondary school comprises six years with two three-year stages. In principle, all children start primary school, but almost every third pupil is forced to cancel their schooling early. The proportion of girls is as high as the proportion of boys. Teaching takes place in the languages of Rwanda, French and English.
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Rwanda has a national university in the city of Butare. In addition, there is a technologically oriented university in Kigali, as well as a number of universities and colleges affiliated with church organizations.
Illiteracy has dropped slightly in the 1990s and in 2009, literacy among the population over 15 years was estimated at a total of 71% (75% for men and 67% for women). In 2008, 20% of government spending went to the education sector.
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Prior to the August 2010 presidential election, the government restricted freedom of speech and assembly. This made it impossible for new parties and candidates to line up. Kagame could therefore be re-elected with 93% of the vote. The RPF was characterized by increasing political divide. Several senior officers were arrested. Former Commander Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa fled to South Africa and others fled to Rwanda’s neighboring countries. Nyamwasa and 3 other officers were sentenced in 2011 to 20-24 years in prison in absentia for threatening state security. In South Africa, Nyamwasa was subjected to a murder trial.
Tensions increased in 2010 between the government and supporters of the former leader of the Congolese Armed Forces National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), Laurent Nkunda, who had been in house arrest since 2009 without trial or indictment. A series of grenade attacks in Kigali further aggravated the security situation.
In 2010, France and Rwanda resumed diplomatic relations. Nicolas Sarkozy visited Rwanda in the same year and in September 2011 Kagame visited Paris.
Corruption is a problem in Rwanda, but not to the same extent as other African countries. In 2010, the country was the 8th cleanest among the 47 sub-Saharan African countries.
Pierre Habumuremyi was appointed new Prime Minister in October 2011.
As part of the government’s Vision 2020 program, in 2011 the laying of 2,300 fiber optic cables was completed, which will help make Rwanda an IT hub in central Africa. The country has few natural resources, but extensive subsistence agriculture. Instead, it focuses on developing the knowledge industry.
In 2011, tourism became the most important source of foreign currency, and it was already the fastest growing economic sector. Despite the 1994 genocide, the country is perceived as very safe to travel in. 406,000 tourists visited the country in the first election year of 2011. Rwanda is one of only two countries where mountain gorillas can be experienced in the wild.
After 10 years in prison, Charles Ntakirutinka was released in March 2012. He had been a minister in the first government after the genocide and in 2001 had formed a new party with former president Pasteur Bizimungu. Up to the 2003 elections, he had been arrested and in 2004 convicted of “solicitation of civil disobedience” and “dealing with criminal elements”.
Rwanda’s anti-genocide and hate speech laws are widely used against the government’s political opponents. Following the suppression of the media in 2010, there was a very narrow framework for freedom of expression. In April 2012, the Supreme Court reduced the penalties for the daily Umurabyo’s editor-in-chief, Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and her editor Saidati Mukakibibi to 4 and 3 years in prison respectively. In February 2011, they had been sentenced to 17 and 7 years in prison respectively for publishing critical articles on government policy and possible corruption during the 2010 elections.