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Rwanda: Jobs at risk as multi-billion education projects stalled – Auditor General

The delayed implementation of some multi-billion projects in the education sector threatens to erode the country’s ambitions to boost job creation, according to the latest public finance audit.

The Auditor General’s report for the year ending June 2021 revealed costly delays in the activities of three projects.

According to the report, they include the TVET project, the Rwanda Quality Basic Education project and the Rwanda Quality Basic Education for Human Capacity Development project.

Auditor General Alexis Kamuhire presents the annual audit report for the year ended June 30, 2021 during a joint session of the two houses of parliament on May 12. Photo: courtesy.

In particular, delays in the $81 million (over Rwf 82 billion) TVET project threaten to undermine efforts to improve the quality of technical education in the country.

“The project implementation agreement was signed in 2017 and five years have passed. Only 0.2% of the money received from India Export Import Bank was spent in January this year,” Auditor General Alex Kamuhire said.

Execution should now be between 80 and 90% but not even 1%, he said.

The funding agreement aimed to support the establishment of an integrated Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, including the construction of modern training and production workshops with equipment for ten new vocational training and four business incubation centres.

The project is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of technical education in order to develop technical skills, considered essential for reducing unemployment, poverty and enhancing social development.

In addition, a recent skills audit indicated that there are significant shortages of technical and vocational skills needed to meet current labor market demand.

Rwanda aims to create 200,000 new off-farm jobs each year, and the project is seen as one of the catalysts for this ambition.

Kamuhire said if the implementation process maintains this pace, the quality of education and TVET goals will be compromised.

Paul Umukunzi, chief executive of the Rwanda TVET Council, said the council inherited some of the problems from the defunct Workforce Development Authority (WDA) that plagued the project, including the inability to find a builder in time.

“A lot is being done and we hope everything will be fine soon,” he said.

During our audit, we realized that the Rwanda TVET Board had spent only $172,000, or 0.2% of the total project budget, the Auditor General revealed.

Accelerating the project could also help increase TVET enrolment.

The government aims to enroll 60% of ordinary level graduates in TVET by 2024. The enrollment rate is currently 31%.

Delay of a project of 17 billion Frw to train teachers

The Auditor General also revealed that in September 2019, the government signed an agreement to implement a $200 million project (approximately 204.2 billion Rwandan francs) dubbed “Human Capacity Development Project for quality base”.

Part of this money was 17 billion Rwandan francs to train teachers mainly in ICT and other skills.

However, the Auditor General said his audit of the project revealed that as of January 2022, the Rwanda Education and Basic Education Board (REB) had only spent 21% of the money.

“Officials told listeners that the delay in spending the money to train teachers was due to Covid-19 disruptions. The delay means a delay in delivering quality education,” he said. he declares.

Emmanuel Shyaka, the coordinator of the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) at the Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) told The New Times that the slow implementation of the quality basic education project in Rwanda was caused by total covid19 lockdown.