What Are Some of the Current Challenges in Quality Education?

Around the world, millions of children face significant barriers to receiving the quality education they deservefrom overcrowded classrooms to undertrained teachers; from lack of access for students with disabilities to gender inequity; from the massive impact of pandemic-related school closures to lack of family support for education.

Time in School Doesn’t Equal Time Spent Learning

In Rwanda, where these obstacles are the reality for many children, a student can expect to complete roughly 6.9 years of school by the time they turn 18. However, when this figure is adjusted to factor in what they have learned, this actually only equates to 3.9 years (Source: Human Capital Index 2020). This is why Wellspring focuses not only on ensuring that children have access to schoolan area in which great progress has been made in Rwandabut on building the capacity of teachers and leaders to provide children with a quality education.

Ill-Equipped Teachers

There is a great need for teachers to be equipped with skills that improve the quality of students’ learning, and this is particularly true in this season of mass teacher recruitment. Alongside the building of thousands of new classrooms across Rwanda, over 20,000+ new teachers have been recruited, many of whom have no background as educators. Wellspring has had a key role to play in developing resources and providing support that will set these new educators up for success.

Language Barriers in Teaching and Learning

Another challenge faced by teachers and students alike is the requirement that lessons are taught in English, rather than in Kinywarwandathe native tongue of most teachers and students in Rwanda. This presents a significant obstacle to teaching and learning, and a great deal of support is needed to ensure that lessons are being absorbed and understood.  

Prioritizing Pre-Primary

There is an increasing awareness too of the importance of quality education at the pre-primary level, and this is leading Wellspring to engage more intentionally and strategically in early childhood education. The challenge is that access to, and enrolment in, pre-primary education remains low in Rwanda. The Rwandan government is proactively promoting greater enrolment to ensure that young children are as ready as they can be for their formal primary and secondary education. 

The Road Ahead

This pursuit of quality education for every child—which is also the focus of UN Sustainable Development Goal 4—and work towards removing the obstacles children face in accessing this kind of education is worth our investment and will make a difference for generations to come. This takes capacity-building work at the grassroots level and advocacy work at the systemic level, and Wellspring is privileged to play a part in both.

Other Foundational Pieces

We are sharing these Foundational Pieces to help you learn more about who we are and what we do.