KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has called upon teachers to play a more significant role in the socio-economic transformation which has been adopted by the country. He said this yesterday while officially closing a two-week solidarity camp for all primary and secondary school teachers countrywide. The camp was organized under the auspices of Itorero ry’Igihugu, a traditional education system.
The President advised teachers to implement what they had learned during the 17-day camp so as to benefit not only their students, but their respective communities as well.
“You will have a big role to play in changing the mindset of Rwandans towards the socio-economic revolution,” he told the teachers who had packed Amahoro National Stadium to the brim. He urged them to make the right choices that would drive the country towards a sustainable development.
“Why should our country lag behind in development? Should we remain beggars for the rest of our lives? That is the choice you have to make,” urged Kagame amidst cheers from the over 40,000 teachers who turned up for the event. He said there was no reason to remain poor because all necessary tools were in place to achieve development.
Itorero ry’Igihugu, which is coordinated by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, was established last year as a forum for discussing national development issues.
The President told teachers that the reasons the country had lagged behind was because resources necessary for development were instead diverted to destroy it.
He told teachers that having knowledge and skills was not enough but that they “should always endeavour to put in practice” the knowledge they possess. He pledged on behalf of the government to improve the welfare of teachers in the country.
“But you will first lay the ground work for improving your welfare, then we shall build on what you yourselves have set up,” he said.
He challenged them to restore the self esteem of a teacher by striving to become leaders in their communities. During the function, teachers presented a trophy to President Kagame in recognition for his efforts in promoting education in the country.
According to Protais Musoni, Minister of Local Government, Good Governance and Social Welfare, 43,670 teachers took part in solidarity camps all over the country.
“But those who managed to come here are 40, 795,” said Musoni, who also heads the national steering committee of Itorero Ry’Igihugu. He added that similar training was underway for leaders at sector level.
President Kagame suggested that such camps be organized annually. The opening date for the new term was extended by one week at the request of the teachers.
The State Minister for primary and secondary education, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, announced that the second term would begin on April 28.