Rwanda: Challenges for school leadership in a transitional, post-conflict nation
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Rwanda is a small central African nation that has been more than adversely affected by major political, economic and ethnic upheaval. In particular, the country has faced the challenge of ensuring recovery, rehabilitation reconstruction and reconciliation after the horrific genocide of 1994 that resulted in the loss of nearly a million lives and the displacement of over two million people. In 2000, the government of Rwanda proposed Vision 2020 (Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, 2000), a dynamic policy document, resulting in the adoption of the following goals: 1. The eradication of illiteracy; 2. National capacity building in science and technology; and 3. improving quality in education.This chapter draws on research undertaken in Rwanda between 1997 and 2011. The research utilised qualitative methods to examine the nature of school leadership in this post-conflict transitional society, supplemented by relevant published literature. The findings of the research identified a series of constraints faced by school principals in Rwanda and highlighted challenges that need to be confronted in the implementation of the education reform process. In particular, the following major challenges were identified: running schools effectively with limited infrastructure and resources; progressing professionally with limited opportunity for further learning; seeking to support the professional development of teachers; meeting Ministry of Education goals of quality education when the emphasis is on set examinations; enabling school principals to contribute to the design of a contextually relevant Rwandan curriculum; and improving the status of the teaching profession and working conditions of teachers. This chapter is in three [arts. First, a brief historical background is presented. Second, there is an overview of the country’s education system and third, attention is focused on each of the major challenges described above.
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