HUYE - As the presidential campaigns enter the final week, the Party for Progress and Concord (PPC) candidate, Dr Alivera Mukabaramba, pledged to improve conditions at the National University of Rwanda, (NUR), the country’s oldest and biggest institution of higher learning with over 11,000 students.
Addressing a rally in the University suburb of Tumba, Mukabaramba said that if elected, she will open up dialogue with university students with a view of identifying the challenges they are faced with.
“There are students who are sharing beds in over-crowded rooms; we have to solve the housing problem. We will encourage the private sector to construct hostels so that students get decent housing,” Mukabaramba said.
She promised to push for more school loans so that more students can pursue their studies, therefore, increasing the number of graduates in the country.
“We shall follow up the teaching system at the university to find out if they have laboratories where students can conduct practical lessions; we want to insist on the quality of graduates,” the PPC candidate said.
Mukabaramba reiterated her promise to provide free education right from kindergarten to secondary school. She said that many children drop out of school after the first six years, due to lack of school fees.
“We shall make sure that school head-teachers implement the free education programme. If education is free it should be given free. Parents can play a role but they should not be made to pay what they cannot afford,” she said, drawing loud cheers from about 200 enthusiastic supporters carrying her campaign posters.
She said that emphasis will be put on skills training so that students who complete secondary school are able to use the skills acquired to earn an income.
This, she said, will go hand-in-hand with motivating teachers to do their job well.
In the health sector, Mukabaramba promised to merge Mutuelle de Santé health insurance with RAMA- a health insurance scheme that mainly targets workers in government and private institutions.
The merger, she said, will ensure that even the poor afford treatment in the country and abroad.
She promised the establishment of a Ministry of Social Welfare which will deal with social security. She said that people who clock retirement age will be given pensions that are in line with the current market price.
“This will be given on a monthly basis,” she added.
She also pledged unemployment insurance where those who lose jobs will be given money to sustain them.
“We will support the policy of people living in planned villages by ensuring that such villages are provided with electricity and water. In urban areas we will push for the construction of affordable apartments for average income earners in towns and cities,” Dr Mukabaramba said.
Jean Claude Habimana, 45-year resident of Rango B village, talking to The New Times after the rally said that the promise to provide free education was most appealing issues in the candidate’s manifesto.
“The promise to provide free education from kindergarten to secondary school appeals to me, this will cut down o the expenses incurred in sending our children to school,” said Habimana, a father of three.