The Role of the Public-Private Partnerships in Widening Access to Tertiary Education in Rwanda: Evidences and Challenges


Philothere Ntawiha
Stephen O. Odebero
Justin Nshimiyimana
Joseph Ndikumana
Beth Nasiforo Mukarwego


Education is a key instrument for any nations’ economic, political, and social development. This is because education increases productivity of workers, reduces criminal activities, reduces mortality rates, and controls birth rates among many others. To these ends, governments assume the responsibility for providing and financing education. However, due to limited resources, governments, particularly in low and middle income countries are not able to respond to the high need and demand for education. It is in this perspective that governments have to explore diverse ways of financing and providing education. They therefore involve the private sector in financing and management of educational institutions. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine the role of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in widening access to higher education in Rwanda. Specifically, it tried to find out the extent to which PPPs has widened access to tertiary education in Rwanda, to highlight different forms of PPPs in Rwandan tertiary education and finally to explore different challenges to PPPs in Rwandan tertiary education. The study was a critical review critical review of different educational documents about the role of the public-private partnership in education. The study revealed that PPPs has considerably widened access to tertiary education. It was also revealed that PPPs take the form privately managed educational institutions, public and private organizations offering scholarships to students and the purchase of educational services from private sector by the government. It was finally revealed that lack of qualified staff, limited financing, and lack of policy and framework are key challenges to PPPs in tertiary education. Hence, government was recommended to develop clear PPPs policy and framework governing PPPs and both public and private sectors to strengthen PPPs to widen access to tertiary education for country sustainable development.