KICUKIRO - Kicukiro District became the first to officially launch the Nine-Year Basic Education classrooms, three months after the countrywide campaign to build the classrooms kicked off.
The classrooms were officially inaugurated yesterday in Gikondo sector at Gikondo Primary school where an eight-classroom block fully furnished with furniture has been constructed in preparation for the beginning of the 2010 academic year.
Speaking at the ceremony, the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Mathias Harebamungu, gave a token of appreciation to the parents and the general public for their efforts in making the classrooms construction a reality.
“This is a sign of how Rwandans have the zeal to do great things for their children,” he said.
He said that the parents were the ones who had built the classrooms with their own hands and should do all in their power to protect the buildings from damage.
Harebamungu also took the opportunity to thank President Paul Kagame who initiated the idea of the nine years of free education and his efforts in fulfilling what he promised.
“He promised, and has delivered,” said the Minister amid applause from the audience.
Kagame promised free education during the 2003 campaigns where he said that every Rwandan child would at least be able to study the first nine years as one way of trimming illiteracy levels in Rwanda.
The Minister also thanked Kicukiro District leadership for the proper mobilization strategies that have made them top in the construction campaign and called upon others to step up their pace and emulate their counterpart.
According to the Kicukiro Mayor, Paul Jules Ndamage, almost all the 68 classrooms that were constructed in the nine sectors of the district have been completed and a few of them were at the finishing stage.
He promised that by January 15, the remaining phase of construction will be over.
Early last year, it was established that the 9YBE programme needed 3,172 classrooms and over 10,000 restrooms to contain the over 168,000 students who are expected to join the lower level of secondary this year.
The Ministry of education had initially estimated the construction would cost the government over Rwf30 billion under normal tendering procedures. But later it was discovered that the Ministry of Finance was going to be able to provide less than Rwf10 billion for the programme.
This called for other means to be able to see the successful completion of the classrooms before the beginning of the 2010 academic year.
The Ministry of Education introduced the notion of the government providing building materials like cement, iron bars, iron sheets and ridges for roofing, while parents would help in the building with the help of TIG, the army, and police.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Harebamungu said that the method has worked well all over the country and that almost all the classrooms were at the finishing stage and would ready before the opening of the schools.
The Ministry set January 15 as the deadline for the completion of all the classrooms around the country and February 1 as the beginning of the academic year.