Supporting national education reform in Sub-Saharan Africa

Michael Latham
Susy Ndaruhutse
Harvey Smith

This study aims to consolidate and analyse what has been achieved in Rwanda through the Rwandan Education Sector Support Programme.

Over the last decade, Education Development Trust (at the time known as CfBT Education Trust) has been supporting the reform of education systems in various countries across the world (developing countries, middle-income countries and the UK) from school or sub-sector level through to sector-wide level. This work has occurred at the same time as changes in the way funding agencies operate in the education systems of developing countries, with the move away from the provision of teachers to schools, towards providing support and advisory services directly to ministries of education on areas of national educational reform.

One of the largest recent donor-funded programmes of support for education sector reform has been the Rwandan Education Sector Support Programme (RESSP), funded by the United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and managed by CfBT on behalf of FCDO and the Rwandan Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research (MINEDUC). This ran from June 2001 until June 2006, during which Education Development Trust provided strategic advice to the Government of Rwanda (GoR) on the development of the Rwandan education system.

What follows is not the story of the RESSP but uses the RESSP and other experience in an attempt to illuminate some of the processes underlying reform in practice. All of the authors are practitioners who contributed directly to the RESSP as well as to other education sector reform programmes in Africa and elsewhere.