President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni will take part in a fundraising event in Kigali, early next month, organised by the Rwanda chapter of the Ntare Old Boys Association.
The event, scheduled for March 6, aims to raise funds for the construction of Ntare School in Rwanda and will take place the same day the Rwandan alumni will host their Ugandan counterparts in the first ever Ntare School Old Boys reunion outside Uganda.
A special reunion dinner in Kigali will launch the fundraising drive for the estimated Rwf5.9 billion model secondary school to the level of Ntare School in Bugesera District.
According to a tentative plan, the former Ntare School students from both countries will tour the proposed school site, conduct community work (Umuganda) there before later meeting at a fundraising dinner at Kigali Serena Hotel.
The patrons of Ntare School Old Boys Association (Nsoba), Kagame and Museveni, are expected to lead the ceremonies.
“We who went to Ntare School are all witnesses to the transformative power of quality education because we are its direct beneficiaries. But we also owe a great debt of gratitude for the opportunity we had which many did not. It is, therefore, a moral duty to make it widely available to more of our children so that it is no longer the privilege of a few but the right of many,” Kagame’s message ahead of the occasion partly reads.
The President notes that one of the best ways to repay and the most enduring legacy to posterity is to create more learning centres of excellence.
The Rwandan model, expected to accommodate about 1,000 students, will be built on a 60-hectare plot of land on Rebero hill near Nyamata town with provision for a boarding section.
The Ntare School in Rwanda
Once completed, the not-for-profit school will be run as a public-private partnership venture, Aaron Turamye, chairperson Nsoba-Rwanda, said.
If all goes according to plan, the school will open its doors to students in 2017.
Peter Mujiji, an OB who is head of Corporate Service Division at the Rwanda Education Board (Reb), said all the alumni cherish the idea of starting a similar school in Rwanda.
“We all cherish the name and what it stands for and, it will be a good contribution to our society. Self-reliance was one of those special attributes at Ntare School,” Mujiji said.
The last such reunion was held at the school grounds in Uganda, last April, when Kagame’s message to the school alumni was delivered by Chief Justice Sam Rugege. Kagame also donated $30,000 (about Rwf20.6 million) toward the construction of a sports complex to enhance sporting activities.
Prof. Rugege, also an OB, said then the close relationship of the two countries is not built only on political and economic cooperation but also on social ties such as the one between Old Boys.
Founded by Scottish educator William Crichton in 1956, the school today has over 40 Rwandan students and more than 100 Rwandan OBs.
Three years ago, Ntare School and Lycee de Kigali (LDK) embarked on a partnership programme. Teachers and students often conducting visits to teach and learn from each other.
LDK head teacher, Martin Masabo, now an honourary member of Nsoba, told The New Times: “We need to develop our human capital and I would encourage as many people as possible to support this very noble cause. The project is important for Rwanda as it is supporting an important sector.”
In 2010, Ntare School began offering 15 scholarships to Rwandan students annually, with 10 in Senior One and five in A-Level for students who meet academic requirements.