Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Thursday inaugurated twelve classrooms at Gatebe Primary School in Rwimiyaga Sector of Nyagatare District. The classrooms were built under the tourism revenue sharing scheme.
Gatebe Primary School has 1,296 learners and is situated right at the border of Akagera National Park in the Eastern Province.
The launch of the classrooms marked the beginning of activities leading up to the 12th annual Kwita Izina, the gorilla naming ceremony that will take place on September 2 at the foot of the Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District.
According to Belise Kaliza, the chief tourism officer at RDB, the school construction is part of the revenue sharing scheme that was initiated by the Board to strengthen relations between national parks and communities surrounding them.
“The communities surrounding national parks are among our key partners in wildlife and biodiversity conservation and this is why they are the first beneficiaries of this revenue allocation. Through the construction of these classrooms, we are optimistic that the lives of the children in this area will positively change by ensuring easy access to education facilities,” she said.
Nyagatare District mayor George Mupenzi commended the government and RDB specifically for supporting developmental projects and promoting education in particular.
“These classrooms we are inaugurating today will allow pupils to study comfortably as they will reduce congestion. We also thank RDB for providing us Rwf28 million that will be allocated to development projects throughout this 2016-2017 fiscal year,” he said, assuring of the district and citizens’ participation in protecting National Parks.
Olivier Rwamukwaya, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education who launched the classrooms said that the project is a sign of what people can achieve by working with government to safeguard natural resources.
“All of these achievements could be futile if there was no participation of people in protecting the national parks. The government is working to help every Rwandan to get access to quality education that will help in overcoming constraints to development through job creation and good performance at work,” he said.
He added that under Vision 2020 programme, the government targets to become middle income economy, and one of the pillars that will help to achieve this target is to have educated and skilled people.
“It is in this line that we commend RDB and other partners that have contributed in promoting education by constructing these classrooms to enable pupils get access to education in good environment and near their homes,” he said.
Parents speak out
Donatha Sibonteze, who spoke on behalf of parents with children at the school, said that they are happy to have their children studying in a good environment.
“They are comfortably studying in well- built classrooms, an improvement from the situation before where some pupils were studying under trees,” she said.
Parents and officials of the school however, pleaded that the school be made a 12-year basic education because students who complete primary six have to travel long distance to access high school education.
Gatebe Primary School is among 41 schools funded through the Shared Tourism Revenue Scheme since it first started in 2005.
A total of 480 initiatives have been funded by the scheme country-wide, including business centres, water facilities, health centres, and cooperatives among others.