Rwanda’s literacy rate rises

The fourth Population and Housing Census in Rwanda conducted in August 2012 (2012 RPHC) shows that 68% of Rwandan population aged 15 years and above were literate while they were 64.4% in 2002. A person is qualified as literate if he/she is able to read, write and understand at least one language. In 2012, males were more literate (72%) than females (65%).

Improvement of literacy is a result of increasing number of persons who attend various levels of education in Rwanda, from primary to university. The 2012RPHC observed that the percentage of persons with a secondary education level rose considerably from 6.1% in 2002 to 12.4% in 2012, all domains and both sexes grouped.  

In general, the percentage of persons who have never attended the school dropped from 31.9% in 2002 to 18.7% in 2012. The percentage of females who have never attended schools was higher than the one of males who have never attended schools (27.9% against 22.8% respectively) and the percentage of persons with primary education level is higher in rural areas than in urban ones (58.4% against 48.1% respectively).

According to the same census, the percentage of children who had never attended the school was higher among those with disabilities than the one of those without any disability (respectively 27% and 14%). The percentage of children who had left the school was likewise higher among those with disabilities than the one among their colleagues without disability (respectively 9% and 6%). In Rwanda, the official age of primary school is 7–12 years and 13–18 years for the secondary one.

Persons aged 15-59 years are more literate than those aged 60 and above and there is a greater probability to meet person who knows English or French in the first age group of the population than in the second one. Among the category of persons aged 60 years and above, 3.3% knows French against 12.1% of those aged 15-59 years and 15.9% of the first category knows English against only 1.0% in the second one.

There is hope that the literacy will increase in the future considering the fact that almost all children with primary school age, girls and boys, were in schools in 2012. Only 5.1% of females aged 7-18 years and 6.2% of boys with the same age have been declared never attended the school.

By: Claude Nyirimanzi

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