Publication Title: Education Research International
Abstract: 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.