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Towards Inclusive Education in Rwanda An assessment of the socio-political contributors to Inclusive Education developments

E Karangwa


The impetus of the Rwandan government in developing free and accessible 9 years of basic education for all children since 2007 has notably been remarkable. The commonwealth education award-winning policy seems to have drawn along the enthusiasm of the entire Rwandan community, in making schooling more accessible to even the most disadvantaged. The present paper is concerned that despite the innovative and pro-vulnerable policy initiatives, the support to learners with disabilities and other Special Educational Needs (SEN) remains comparatively low, leading to a persistently diminished proportion of learners with SEN accessing basic education. However, in few communities, agency-led inclusive education projects have seen notable school transformations towards improved accommodation of learners with diverse SEN even where resources and awareness is modest. Yet, in even many more communities, agency-led projects have perpetuated the tradition of leaving the children unschooled and/or dependent on charity and local perceptions on disability, often resulting in exclusion from skills development and social participation. The paper reflects on ways of achieving sustained education for all children with (SEN) vis-à-vis the prevailing socio-political dynamics. It explores the local community resources, as the source of local synergies and home-grown initiatives that could benefit both ordinary and disadvantaged learners in their neighborhood schools.

Key Words: Inclusive Education, Local community inputs, development agencies, socio-political dynamics