Staff and officials from the Ministry of Education (Mineduc) and affiliated institutions yesterday mourned with families of colleagues massacred in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The ministry has so far identified 70 victims among former staff of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Miniprisec), the Ministry of High Education, Research and Culture and affiliated institutions, but the list is not exhaustive.
Education minister Dr Vincent Biruta said survivors are still suffering from Genocide-related challenges 20 years down the road.
He cited lack of shelter as one of the problems, adding that the ministry plans to build over 20 housing units for needy Genocide survivors, out of contributions from the ministry and staff.
A part from this support to families, the minister said there have been attempts aimed at overhauling the education system that was devastated long before the Genocide.
He cited construction and rehabilitation of education infrastructure, purging divisive content from the school curricula, and removing all content that can fuel genocide as part of activities the ministry has embarked on.
Prof Laurent Nkusi, a senator, took the mourners through the history of Rwanda’s education system which was characterised by favouritism, corruption and divisionism.
“The commemoration period is an opportunity for us to restore the dignity of those we lost, to support the survivors and take note of the vital role education plays in our country’s history,” Biruta said.
Mourners, who had gathered in hundreds at the ministry’s gardens in Kacyiru, were touched by a testimony from Gilbert Humure, 25, a resident of Kabeza, Kicukiro Sector, whose mother Marguerite Niyibigira, a former staff of the ministry, was killed during the Genocide.
Humure said following the Genocide, his foster parents subjected him to heavy domestic work, despite his young age and repeatedly beat him up.
The mistreatment compelled him and his two sisters to rent a house and begin a family of their own. He said that the child-headed family received support from one Rose Mukandekezi, a retired staff of Mineduc who also survived the Genocide.
The two elder sisters have since graduated from university and secured jobs, while Humure is now a student at College of Veterinary Medicine, under the sponsorship of Rwanda Education Board’s staff.
His family still has the chagrin of not knowing the fate of their father who was on an official visit to Tanzania when the Genocide unfolded and he never resurfaced.