I have been writing on the parental and teachers participatory and ownership role in education for a while now and you probably wonder why this is so. I am now retired and living in Kabarondo sector, Kayonza District, in the Eastern Province.
Before I retired from the civil service, I was working with the former Province of Kibungo. This was after coming back from exile in 1994.
It was during that period of civil service when I was introduced to a participatory role in development. This started when the, then Prefet Hon. Protais Musoni, made sure that nothing designed for the people was taken on without the participation of the same stakeholders.
It was interesting to discover that the ordinary people in rural areas had innovative knowledge about everything.
Whoever thinks that these people don’t know what is good for them is wrong.
It was in 1996, when we had a provincial development meeting on education chaired by the Prefet Musoni. We asked ourselves, “why genocide was possible in our country Rwanda, which had learned people”?
We theorized that those so called ‘learned’ people were the ones who planned the genocide and engaged the simple citizens in executing their horrible plan. The rural citizens were victims of the bad leaders, who were so-called educated elites.
After a deep analysis, it came out that those leading Rwandans did not get an education. Rather, they got poison at school; poison they then transmitted to those they lead.
Ever since the advent of the colonialism, the colonial powers introduced their own system of educating young Rwandans with the aim of molding their mindset. They found a system where every parent had a participatory role educating their children in Itorero.
The colonial government suppressed that national system and removed the role of parents in the education of their children. This was because everything that was done by Rwandans was seen as Satanic.
They introduced boarding schools and the education was given by the White Fathers who started Seminaries to form their cadres who spread their ideological beliefs. The parents of those children were excluded in all this.
In fact they did not know where their children were taken.
Those are the people who were taken as the learned ones; those expelled from the seminaries became the national leaders who lead Rwanda to so-called independence in 1962.
Is it any wonder, with their kind of education that everything happened? Removing parents from their children’s education was untenable then…and untenable now.
The author is a retired teacher and Pan-Africanist