KIGALI - Children from the East African Community (EAC) partner states, for the second time, joined their Rwandan counterparts at their sixth National Children’s Summit in Kigali yesterday.
The event was also attended by children representatives from member states from the East African Community (EAC).
The annual event aims at actively involving Rwandan children in the development of their country by particularly providing them with a national platform to involve in social dialogue with education stakeholders so that their views can be included in national policy development.
The event, according to some of the children who spoke to The New Times, is very welcome and inspiring as they are happy to be given a chance to voice their concerns and views.
Rhoxane Mudenge Arakaza is joining senior two at Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux, next year, and she would like to see authorities “come down” to address challenges that still impede the use of English language in schools.
“Some children who come from Anglophone schools, in primary, but are now in schools which formerly used the francophone system, expect to be taught in English, but some teachers don’t teach in English – and they have difficulties in learning,” Arakaza said.
Zilfa Irakoze also going to senior two next year at Groupe Scolaire Officielle de Butare, was attending the summit for the second time. She was particularly concerned by the plight of children from poor families and was determined to be their voice at the summit.
“You know there are problems for children who do not have money to pay school fees, there are children who come from poor families, and I bring such problems here so that authorities can try to solve them quickly,” said Irakoze.
Opening the summit at Kigali Serena Hotel, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Dr. Jeanne d ‘Arc Mujawamariya, told the children that the meeting was theirs to speak out about what they appreciate and what difficulties they face, as well as how they wish they could be resolved.
Education Minister, Dr. Charles Murigande, and other top officials later fielded questions from the children and laboured to explain various issues, including the PTA charges demanded by schools.
The event’s theme: “The role of children in education fit for them,” was in the framework of the government’s policy of universal 9-Year Basic Education, suppression of gender based disparities, among others.
The summit’s expectations include making policy makers, leaders, parents and educators aware of children’s ideas and are able to translate them into action.
It is also expected to act as a wake-up call for children to realize that government invests in them as one of the key measures of attaining sustainable development.