The title itself was quite an eye catcher and it is only once one has gone through “Inside Rwanda’s most overcrowded school” that they pinch themselves to check whether they are not dreaming.
So, brace yourself: Groupe Scolaire Paysannat L in Kirehe District in the Eastern Province has an estimated 24,000 students! Children in Primary school study in shifts and because of the size of the student population, administratively it has been divided into five schools; A,B,C,D and E but they share the same infrastructure.
The school used to have an average of 4,000 students but the influx of Burundian refugees bloated the number fivefold. This school definitely needs special attention. It is not enough to have over a 100 students in one class, the problem is compounded when one learns that the World Bank recommended Pupil-to-Classroom Ratio (PCR) is 23.
But against all odds, one of the best performing students in the just released A’ Level exams is from that school. It is a miracle that the school’s administration is still standing on its feet, but one thing they have managed to prove is their resilience.
The school showed that it has potential; all it needs is a little push in the back to ease the population pressure. From the way things stand at the moment, the Burundian refugees will be with us for some time to come, the least we can do is to make their stay as bearable as possible.
But the administrators of Groupe Scolaire Paysannat L need special mention from the Ministry of Education because they have proudly written their names in the sand for all to see.