The National Itorero Commission (NIC) has disclosed plans to introduce civic education to children between 6 and 9 years in order to promote values early on.
Edouard Bamporiki, the Chairperson of National Itorero Commission, announced this while addressing members of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security during their visit to the commission’s offices in Kigali.
Civic education has previously been taught to Senior Six leavers among other adult Rwandans from different groups.
The Commission explained that teaching civic education to adults when they have already experienced negative influences presents a major challenge.
“A child who is able to attend nursery school at three or four years can also be taught values, norms and patriotism at the same age. And six year olds should be taught all foundational values expected of an adult,” Bamporiki said.
He questioned why children would be taught history of other countries instead of starting with their own history.
He said through collaboration with parents and teachers, content would include country’s history.
He observed that colonialists took advantage of the absence of Itorero to fuel divisions and hatred among Rwandans that culminated into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. ‘‘They came and instilled their cultures in our people and made Rwandans forget their values until they led people to Genocide. We want to prepare future generations with values and norms,” Bamporiki added.
The lawmakers’ visit was in line with their oversight role.
Most of the questions raised during the two-hour discussion revolved around knowing how the National Itorero Commission ensures sustainability of its programmes, including the implementation of measures against genocide ideology and denial.
The Commission cited budgetary constraints among its challenges, noting that Rwf400 million allocated to their activities during the current fiscal year was not enough.
Senator Michel Rugema, the chairperson of the senatorial committee, commended the commission for its role, but challenged it to maintain efforts against genocide ideology and denial.
“Civic education contributes a lot to the fight against genocide ideology. There is no direct bullet except constant lessons on values and norms. We want to see zero genocide ideology,”Rugema said.