Promoting quality education among Rwandan girls particularly and all children in general should be a shared responsibility.
The call was made on Sunday by the Senate president Bernard Makuza while rewarding some of best female performers in last year’s national exams– an event organised by Imbuto Foundation.
The ceremony took place at Petit Seminaire de Nyundo, in Rubavu District.
This year, Imbuto Foundation is rewarding 202 girls from primary and Ordinary Levels, and 25 girls from Advanced Level.
Girls rewarded for their academic achievements receive scholastic materials, ICT training and funds to create savings accounts.
Girls in the Advanced Level will each be rewarded with a laptop and IT training.
Yesterday’s rewarding event concurrently took place in Rubavu and Nyamasheke.
It will then go to other districts of Nyaruguru and Muhanga on Monday and Bugesera on Tuesday.
Makuza said that awarding star female students is a way of encouraging them.
He called on society to shun old tradition that undermined girls’ education, relegating them to family chores, while their male counterparts were sent to school.
He also urged parents, teachers and leaders to play a joint role to ensure that young girls are supported enough to study and perform well.
“Quality education is a responsibility of parents, teachers and all other partners. It is very important to offer young girls quality education and motivate those who perform poorly while correcting them,” he told the gathering.
He urged them to bear in mind that quality education and, discipline are inseparable and a foundation of everything.
“This target to promote girls’ education will not be achieved while there are people who still engage young girls in bad habits, such as sexual acts which lead to unwanted pregnancies and ruined future,” he said.
“There is no reason to tolerate this unlawful act; those engaged in those habits should face the law, we want zero tolerance to this and this concerns all of us.”
Sharing best practice
Major Lydia Bagwaneza, from the Republican Guard, told young girls how she rose from refugeehood to an officer in the army, encouraging them to be self-confident and work hard to achieve their targets.
“I took the initiative while still young because I felt I was able just like my agemates then. Girls are as able as their male counterparts; it only requires self-confidence,”
“Nothing was hard for us, we fought like our male counterparts and we have never failed because we are female, gender empowerment started long ago thanks to President Paul Kagame,” she added.
Teachers, students speak out
Beatha Mukeshimana, one of the parents, said some parents still have mindset that girls should handle domestic work more than boys, denying them more time to concentrate on studies.
Alcienne Uwamahoro, one of the students, said disagreements and constant conflict in homes were partly responsible for poor academic performance among young girls.
“The issue starts from home, if there is no harmony in families, children, especially girls, are affected and perform poorly at school. Sometimes students do not get enough support from their parents and end up dropping out,” she said.
Imbuto Foundation initiated the project to reward best performing girls in 2005. Since then 4,438 girls have been rewarded.