A Ministry of Education official has said nursery education is crucial for child development and called upon all stakeholders in the sector to promote it.
Appolinaire Ndayisaba, the professional in charge of lower secondary education, made the remarks on Monday during the launch of a nursery school in Kavumu, Ruhango District.
The nursery school was constructed by Le Chemin de la Lumiere, a Canadian non-profit charity organisation helping young children attain education.
Speaking at the event, Francois Xavier Mbabazi, the Ruhango district mayor, hailed the organisation for the initiative, which he said would boost efforts to provide quality education to children who previously had to walk miles to get to school.
“We are happy to have you as partners in our drive of building more nursery schools countrywide,” he said.
According to Marie Ntaganda, the president of the organisation, they hatched the idea of building the school when she and two of her friends studying in Canada visited Kavumu in 2011.
“Parents told us that their children had to travel for two hours to get the nearest school, which was particularly hard for young children.
“We felt pity for young children who come back from school exhausted, with no food or drink left in their lunch boxes. Many children were losing interest in schooling because they had to do other household chores upon their return,” he said.
Ntaganda testified that when they travelled back to Canada, the three founder members never stopped about thinking these children and decided to start raising money to build a school in the village.
“Through this organisation, we are hoping to expand our vision to more remote Rwandan villages,” she said.
Slyvie Martel, a teacher from Ontario, Canada, said the school is very important for the children, but noted that more is needed as far as equipment is concerned.
“For instance, in Canada a big number of nursery kids have computers which they use to access academic information at an early age. We hope that can be replicated here,” she said.
“We are very happy that we have a school. Our children used to walk miles and miles to get a school but this is the end of it now,” said Julienne Uwase, a resident.
For Eliphas Nsengimana, another resident, the initiative is good though it will still be a drop in the lake as there are still few schools in the area generally.
“Our area has few secondary and primary schools, and it’s worse when it comes to higher institutions of learning. We pray that more schools are built in the area,” he said.
For Beatrice Uwanyirigira, a resident, the coming of the school is a double blessing since teachers will get jobs.
On the other hand, Seth Mubirigi, another resident, hopes the school will come with other basic services such as electricity, water and good roads.
About the school
The nursery school will be a grade 1 to 3 kindergarten.
According to the founders of supporting organisation, Marie Ntaganda, Adolphine Mukamanzi and Noreen Barbe, the project cost 115,000 Canadian dollars (about Rwf72 million). Over 300 children are expected to attend the school.