Private schools proprietors are skeptical and worried about closure of their institutions due to the low registration of students that instead join government-aided schools.
The number of students registering in private schools started reducing in 2012 when the free nine year basic education program was introduced.
IGIHE can report that so far thirty schools have already closed since the beginning of 2017. The director of College Nkundubrezi in Gakenke district, Samuel Batamba, told the press that currently, they have a diversity of challenges.
He said; " The number of new students has drastically reduced, leaving the college in a sea of of debts, including salary arrears for staff and suppliers. We don’t know whether the school will ever reopen."
Batamba says that they used to have about 800 students, a number that has since dwindled to 80 students as others enlisted in government-aided schools. In 2016, most of the private schools are said to have lost 2/3 of their students.
The Association of Privates Schools in Rwanda, 100-strong membership, says that most schools closed and others are about to follow suit.
The director of College de I’Espoir de Gasogi, Evariste Nsengiyumva, said that they are remaining with 500 students compared to over 1000 they had in 2014, leaving most of the school infrastructures idle.
"Currently there are dormitories that used to house students but are now empty,” he laments.
The deputy chairman of the association of private schools, John Gasana, has said that competing with government schools is hard since it requires a lot of investments like infrastructure, recruiting well-qualified teachers and purchasing modern equipment. The Director General of Rwanda Education Board, Janvier Gasana has told IGIHE that it is not possible for the government to assist private schools and advised them to instead to go back to the drawing board.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, there are over 1,575 secondary schools, among which 460 are government-aided, 620 are Catholic-based, 279 Anglican, 22 for Adventists, Islamic-based 16 and 178 owned by parents associations and and private individuals.