MPs to summon education, finance ministers over school feeding scheme

Members of the Chamber of Deputies during Thursday’s plenary session. Craish Bahizi.

The Lower House has resolved to summon the Ministers for Education and the one for Finance to explain the problems identified in the use of the capitation grant and the state of feeding in schools.

Specifically, the legislators want the ministers to explain the delays in disbursement and misuse of capitation grant as well as poor school feeding in schools and the way forward.

The lawmakers made the resolution on Thursday during a plenary session where they discussed a report of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget and National Patrimony, which raised the issues.

MP Omar Munyaneza, the Chairperson of the committee, said that the ministry owes public schools a lot of money, from the 2015/16 fiscal year

“It takes a very long process to confirm numbers and lists of students which causes the delay in (disbursing) capitation grant and school feeding fees. And even many schools do not receive capitation grant for the fourth quarter, which causes conflict with their suppliers,” he explained.

He added that, besides the delays, the school feeding fee is not sufficient.

“That money is still very little,” he said, adding that it’s Rwf56 per day per student, which prompts schools to ask parents to pay extra fees yet the ones in the first category can’t afford it.

“Many schools use the money they have and when it is finished, they stop feeding the students,” he said.

But MP Christine Muhongayire said: “Summoning two ministers on the same issues is somehow exaggerating, I think that we can discuss with concerned organs but not in a plenary session.”

In response, MP Francesca Tengera, the Vice Chairperson of the standing committee, said they decided to summon the two ministers because the problems were persisted.

“Those issues are in our committee almost every year and they always respond in the same way, that they will correct and change things but they do nothing,” she said.