Drugs in schools: what stakeholders have to say

The year 2009 was characterized by widespread talk of illicit drugs sneaked into dormitories in several schools around the country. This particular issue also featured prominently during the 6th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) that took place late last year.
L-R : INSTRUCTED: Mathias Harebamungu;CALLED ON PARENTS: Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya
L-R : INSTRUCTED: Mathias Harebamungu;CALLED ON PARENTS: Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya

The year 2009 was characterized by widespread talk of illicit drugs sneaked into dormitories in several schools around the country.

This particular issue also featured prominently during the 6th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) that took place late last year.

It was then resolved that all the parties concerned put in place measures to ensure that this vice is halted once and for all.

However, the question remains, who are the sources of the drugs in schools and how do the students sneak these drugs into their dormitories?

Speaking to The New Times, a school administrator at one of the city schools who preferred to remain anonymous, told this Newspaper that students get these drugs from centres near the schools where they connive with dealers.

“Many of our schools have dealers of these illicit drugs as neighbours, so it is these people who scheme with the students and sneak in the drugs through the fences something very difficult for us to control,” he said.

According to him, there is need to clamp down on all these dealers who distribute drugs in the vicinity of the schools.

Andrew Mugiraneza, a senior five student says that the environment in which some of the students live exposes students to drugs.

“At some of our schools, you even find people growing these drugs nearby, which tempts the students to use them and also teach others to do so because of the exposure,” said Mugiraneza.

The illicit drugs commonly used in these schools are mainly Marijuana and the local illicit brew known as Kanyanga.

The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, yesterday said in an interview that parents should bear the primary responsibility of ensuring that they shield their children from the exposure of drugs.

“Parents should not abandon all the responsibilities to the teachers; they are the ones responsible for the proper upbringing of the children because as the saying goes; ‘charity begins at home’,” said Mujawamariya.

“Our ministry is trying to take an extra step in sensitizing the parents to partner with teachers to combat this vice. We want this problem eliminated.”

According to the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu, Governors and Mayors in all districts have been instructed to take action on complacent school heads who are not taking this issue serious.

“Strong measures will be taken against those schools in order to emphasize that drug abuse is taken seriously,” Harebamungu said.

He also urged the national police to increase their crackdown on the dealers of the illicit drugs in the neighbourhoods.

When contacted the Police spokesman Eric Kayiranga, said that the National Police is planning a major sensitization campaign on drugs in schools this year.

“We are going to hold sensitization campaigns in schools all over the country with an aim of teaching students the dangers of drug abuse,” said Kayiranga on phone yesterday.

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