Defence Minister, Gen James Kabarebe, has urged students in institutions of higher learning to build on the achievements made by the country to uphold national development and security.
The minister was speaking at the end of a two-week training programme at the National Ubutore Development Centre - Nkumba in Burera District.
About 200 students from across the country participated in the training of trainers organised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the National Itorero Commission. The students will train their colleagues in their respective colleges on Itorero and Urugerero.
“Your generation is lucky but also faces some challenges ahead. The fact that you were born in a shattered country, but at the same time raised in a reconstructing nation with good leadership that built a strong foundation, means that you have no excuse for failure to keep building our country,” Kabarebe said.
Itorero Commission is a platform to educate and train Rwandans on shared cultural values with a view of mobilising citizens to contribute towards national development.
Urugerero is an ancient Rwandan custom where young men left their families for national service and sometimes ended up sealing blood pacts in which one would be ready to die in defence of the other.
The students received lectures in patriotism, Rwandan values, resilience and determination to achieve targets, according to Boniface Rucagu, the Chairman of National Itorero Commission.
Kabarebe told the students about the liberation struggle by the Rwanda Patriotic Army, which he described as total sacrifice by Rwandans who dedicated their lives. He said that to succeed, the liberators were guided by patriotism and determination under visionary leadership.
He urged the students to have critical minds needed to advance the country’s development agenda.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Sharon Haba, said the ministry was committed to help Rwandans, especially students, to contribute towards social-economic development of the country through training in patriotism.
She said that trainees had acquired skills that would help transform other students in both private and public institutions. Longin Gatanazi, the president of university students associations, said the training was an opportunity for them to learn Rwandan history, patriotism, values and culture.
“We were well trained in various issues that can help us become real Rwandans with ability to transform others. We are committed to using the skills to build a strong and well developed nation,” he said.
The trainees will start training others students in their respective universities on October 1, the day when Rwandans celebrate patriotism.