Mineduc should keep its hands off school canteens

Editor, RE: “Students cry foul over school canteens” (The New Times, September 26).
Students await their lunch at school. The Ministry of Education last year banned school canteens. (Courtesy)
Students await their lunch at school. The Ministry of Education last year banned school canteens. (Courtesy)

Editor,

RE: Students cry foul over school canteens(The New Times, September 26).

I think as a country (Rwandans, to be specific) we need to get our facts straight. Are we a capitalist or socialist country? Based on what I know, we are both politically and socially capitalist.

The Rwandan community is enjoying many capitalist concepts and they have been very productive economically, not only regionally but also on the international stage. Now, my question is, for this specific issue of canteens in schools, why should we reverse our philosophy?

We accept that people with a lot of money can buy the poor out of a city, but on this case rich kids with rich parents can’t have the extra bread? This is not only absurd—it’s also a contraction in the way of thinking on the part of those who made the decision. They are not different from the ones who once banned motorcycle-taxs from the City of Kigali.

This decision is based on unfounded ideas and I think I know why: their kids and the decision makers themselves never went to the kind of schools I and the majority of average Rwandans went to.

Just like trying to ban motorcycles despite the fact that one never ever used a moto for transportation. Stop acting on your impulses and get off your high horses.

Food is the most important physiological need, and a basic right to students. Food is connected to the health and well-being of students, and consequently becomes an important factor on their academic performance—and thereafter, their future.

I attended two different boarding schools and none of them provided healthy meals. What’s funny is that they were considered among the best and, they didn’t deliver. Not by a long shot.

This is education; We need to act rationally and ask ourselves a few questions. Like: what change will this bring? Are those changes the best? Are all concerned parties ready and well equipped for the change?

I appeal to the Ministry of Education: act for the sake of our country’s future.

I dare them to compare the pre- and post-statistics of how many students will get suspended after the policy is in action. I saw it happen at my school and I can tell you that, as water goes around what’s in its way, students will take extreme measures to go around the policy. Of course they will get into trouble, and then punished, which involves missing class, leading to poor performance.

Louis

 

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