Kagame made the observation on Thursday 22nd July 2021 as he delivered remarks at ‘Building The Bandwidth Meeting’ organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in collaboration with the Varkey Foundation and CJ Cultural Foundation.
It was attended by UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay and Sunny Varkey, the Founder and Chairman of Varkey Foundation which is a philanthropic organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world among others.
As he addressed participants, Kagame stressed the need to develop inclusive policies to ensure no girl is left behind and shared Rwanda’s experience.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected all aspects of national life, and education has not been spared. The disruption of in-person classes has exposed, more than ever, the gap in digital access, skills, and online learning for all children, especially girls. We have the opportunity to re-engage in the cause of girls’ education so that they are not left even further behind,” he said.
“In Rwanda, we continue to make significant investments in digital infrastructure and training for our young people. For example, the Rwanda Coding Academy admits 50 percent girls and aims to resolve the shortage in engineers through a focused engineering program at high school level,” added Kagame.
Among others, Kagame reminisced how centres of excellence in ICT including Carnegie Mellon University-Africa, the University of Rwanda, and the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences have dedicated scholarships for female candidates and stressed the need to ensure that ‘the ongoing global health crisis does not erode these initiatives, and other similar efforts around the world, aimed at bridging the digital gender divide’.
Kagame further stated that narrowing the gap also requires sustaining efforts for inclusive economic growth, guarantee security and community safety, and continuing to promote gender equality more generally.
“Through partnership with UNESCO and other regional and global initiatives, Rwanda will continue to advocate and act, to ensure girls have access to the digital resources and skills they need,” he affirmed.