Rwanda Ramps Up STEM Education for Girls

By Chika Oduah
On 5 December 2017 at 06:53

18-year-old secondary school student Yvonne Kevia pours a clear liquid into a burette, watching the bubbles flow down the long, glass tube. After mixing and measuring, the liquid turns bright pink.

Kevia writes down measurements in her notebook.

The aspiring chemical engineer has just performed a titration, but we are witnessing more here than just a simple laboratory procedure. Rwanda is making a push to equip girls for science-related careers and is creating a model for other African governments to follow.

Kevia’s classmate Keza Marie Aimeé is planning on becoming a pilot. Her backup plan is to be a pharmacist.

“The first thing that came to my mind before choosing this school was that I wanted to live with girls who know what they want. The reason why I want to become a pilot is because we’re having just few girls that are pilots and I want to show people that yes, we can as girls,” Aimeé says.

The FAWE Girls’ School, where Aimeé has been a student for the past three years, is part of a proliferation of STEM-focused schools in Rwanda over the past decade. FAWE is considered one of the best. The boarding school admits girls from impoverished backgrounds. On national exams, FAWE students overwhelming score in the top percentile.

“It’s a belief of many that girls cannot perform as good as boys, but that is not correct. So believing that they have that potential of doing sciences as well as boys, I think it’s very good for them because with sciences, one can do many things,” says Pascale Dukuzi, a chemistry instructor at FAWE Girls’ school.

With VOAnews