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Education Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 396019, 11 pages
Research Article

Free Education in Rwanda: Just One Step towards Reducing Gender and Sibling Inequalities

1Department of Applied Statistics, Faculty of Economics and Management, National University of Rwanda, P.O. Box 124, Butare, Rwanda
2Department of Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 4 October 2012

Academic Editor: David Neumann

Copyright © 2012 Joseph Nkurunziza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In 2003, Rwanda introduced free education as part of government policy to improve school enrolment in general and the attendance of deprived children in particular. However, in addition to school fees, other factors hamper school careers of children. Shifts in attendance were analysed using binary logistic regression on data from the 2000 and 2005 Integrated Household Living Conditions Surveys. The results show that although the policy has been very successful, the objective has not been achieved. We find a strong effect of the sibling position of the child in the household and its relation to the household head. Substantial numbers of orphans/foster children in Rwanda do not profit from the free education policy and part of the children leave before completing school, in particular girls. Free education is only one step towards a more equitable distribution of educational opportunities.