PARLIAMENT - Members of Parliament have demanded the closure of Ensengnement des Sciences Appliqués (ESA) in Gikondo, Kicukiro District because of unhygienic conditions. With over 750 students, the majority are Genocide survivors who are catered for by the Fund for Survivors of Genocide (FARG). The poor hygiene conditions, deputies said, put student lives at the school at a big risk. This follows a parliamentary probe committee report, which says the administration is incompetent to run the school on the required standards.
The school has smelly toilets, poorly constructed bathrooms and congested hostel rooms, according to the report.
The report indicates that the school doesn’t have fences to protect students from external interference or intruders.
The hostels are surrounded by bars and night clubs, which let out noise especially at night thus affecting students’ academic performance, the report says.
‘The school administrators are from the same family and are profit oriented rather than giving a priority to teaching,’ the report states in part.
At the time of the visit, the probe committee members were shocked to find that the school had no dinning and study rooms, which is not allowed by the law. MP Donatilla Mukabalisa said that the school was more of a business enterprise than academic environment.
“We asked the school administration about the situation and their plans but they were reluctant to react to the appalling conditions,” Mukabalisa noted.
The report says that an official said the school admits “dechets”, meaning those students who failed the National Examinations.
Lawmaker Gideon Kayinamura said that the school should be closed for its bad administration. He suggested that affected students should be transferred to other schools until the problem is addressed.
“We can not tolerate such schools which are profit oriented; the responsible ministry should intervene to rescue those students,” he charged.
MPs called for the immediate intervention of the parliamentary committee in charge of education to probe such schools which don’t care about students’ welfare.
The Mayor of Kicukiro District, William Ntidendereza, said that he was aware of the school’s unhygienic conditions and had earlier warned the administration.
“We warned the school of the appalling conditions but its administrators told us they were to address the problem before the beginning of next term in 2008,” Ntidendereza said.
He pointed out that the health conditions of students in the same school are not up to the standards yet they get a lot of money from FARG which caters for the survivor students.
The State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Joseph Murekeraho, had instructed the school to improve on the hygiene before the beginning of next academic year.
Agatha Musharankwanzi, the legal representative of Association des Parents pour d’Ensengnement des Sciences Appliqués (APESA), the proprietor of the school said: “We are seriously working on all the requirements and I hope by January, the situation will be better.”
She pointed out that they had embarked on the construction of a school fence, installed water in bathrooms and toilets, built a modern kitchen and expanded the dining room and hostels as required by the ministry.
She said that the education ministry had recommended they expand the school library and standardise the compound by April 21, 2008.
Musharankwanzi added that intensive work is in progress.
She said that the academic performance of the school was good compared to the way students have passed in the previous years.
In 2006, 115 A-level students passed the national examination out of 150 at the school. “The school is not profit oriented as it was alleged; we charge a small fee compared to other schools in the city,” she explained.