Varsity scholarships for survivors increase
The government, through the Fund for Support to Genocide Survivors (FARG), has announced an increase in scholarships for survivor students in higher learning institutions.
The number of sponsorships has increased from 1,153 last year to 4,678. Previously the FARG sponsorships would not go beyond 1,000 students.
Speaking at a news briefing, Theophile Ruberangeyo, the Executive Secretary of FARG, said there was need to focus on survivors’ education more than other demanding issues.
“We realised that most students who finish high school find difficulty in joining higher leaning institutions and instead decide to take on unbefitting activities yet we want them to have a good future,” Ruberangeyo said.
He added that FARG has decided to reduce the costs of renovation and construction of survivors’ houses so that it has enough funds to support their education.
FARG has allocated over Rwf8 billion for students joining higher learning institutions in its Rwf22 billion budget for the year 2012-2013.
The government this year budgeted Rwf11.2 billion compared to Rwf8 billion of 2011-2012 spent on education and other sorts of requirements for the genocide survivors.
Ruberangeyo said the survivors living in houses built by the fund should now learn to fully take responsibility of renovating them to enable FARG commit more money to education.
“Over 5,000 students who completed high school are still stranded, so, in order to support them, we need to minimize expenditure on some issues to enable us concentrate on their education,” he added.
FARG currently sponsors 32,143 students in high school and 8,100 in higher institutions of learning.
Ruberangeyo noted that the fund will also cater for those students that fail to get pass marks for universities and encourage them join vocational schools.
Meanwhile, FARG has dragged to court 26 companies that had been contracted to build houses for vulnerable survivors, for either doing shoddy work or abandoning the projects unfinished.
The contractors, who are battling cases in the High Court, are supposed to refund close to Rwf 598.3 million which the government lost in the process.
Several survivors have been complaining about the sorry state of their houses.
The companies are said to have used substandard equipment, built cheap houses compared to what were required to, or abandoned the projects.
Ruberangeyo, while appearing before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), on Thursday, explained that the housing scheme was affected between 2004 and 2005, when the fund was diverted to cater for tuition fees of student survivors.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw