GAKO - President Paul Kagame Monday officially opened a Civic Education Workshop, popularly known as ‘Ingando’, the first to be organised for Rwandan youth studying abroad.
The President participated in an extensive interactive discussion with over 80 young people, who for the next two weeks will undergo civic education at the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako.
The youth are currently or soon to be students on government scholarship, or studying privately, in institutions in Algeria, Belgium, Canada, China, Djibouti, Finland, Germany, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, UK and USA.
Kagame has in previous years officiated at the launch of other civic education trainings, which began with the now standard university students’ training in 1999 (while he was still Vice-President).
This was followed in subsequent years by Ingando for demobilised soldiers, taxi drivers, tea growers and informal sector workers respectively.
The Head of State told the students that the education they would receive is aimed at instilling a solid sense of “Rwandaness” defined by unity and positive values as opposed to the destructive divisions of the past.
He pointed out that the training was aimed at enabling the students to develop deep ties and knowledge of Rwandan culture, national programmes and policies as well as the politics that will take the country forward, so that as they branch out to study and work anywhere around the world, they maintain deep roots in Rwanda.
He also pointed out that while abroad they will always be identified as Rwandans first and would have to uphold and be proud of that identity.
President Kagame emphasized that this was the ideal age for the young people to cultivate their character, thinking and behaviour, in order to gain confidence and achieve their goals no matter how ambitious, gain self satisfaction, and be of service to their families, country as well as the African continent.
Several students shared experiences they had encountered abroad and asked questions ranging from how to deal with various challenges facing the Rwandan society, to the role of Rwanda in development on the African continent.
President Kagame challenged the students, many of whom study in developed countries, to observe and learn from their surroundings in order to understand how and why countries develop.
Referring to the recent 4th July Liberation Day celebrations which also marked 46 years of Rwanda’s independence, Kagame reiterated that there was not much for Rwanda, and other African countries in the region to celebrate because the change in political status from previously colonized, has not yet brought about release from dependence on former colonial powers and other rich countries.
He also pointed out that sovereignty with ethnicity and divisionism was neither complete nor useful, and urged the young participants and their peers to give independence its true meaning – a task in which that the older generation had failed.
The newly established training, which is set to be an annual programme, is themed: “The combined role of government and parents in preparing Rwandan youth studying abroad for their role in national development”, and organised by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in collaboration with the ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Student Financing Agency of Rwanda (SFAR).