Students from various secondary schools have welcomed the Ministry of Education for addressing the transportation problem, as they returned home for their end of year holidays.
The State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, last week told The New Times that the initiative involving students travelling for holidays in shifts was aimed at avoiding transport shortages.
In the first shift, students from schools in the Western and Southern provinces went for their holidays on Thursday October 27 while those from Kigali City, Eastern and Northern departed to their respective homes yesterday.
In an interview at the Nyabugogo Taxi Park, yesterday, Grace Mbabazi, a senior four student at APAPEC secondary school in Rulindo District, said: “I am happy that for the first time, I managed to get a taxi on time without struggling and having to pay extra like before.”
She noted that the situation was formerly characterised by commotion to board taxis due to scarcity of public transportation to their respective schools.
Mbabazi says that some students, especially, girls, ended up getting stranded at their schools on the closing day as they could not afford to compete for the taxis with boys who are more energetic.
Prudence Ireme, a senior two student at St Benedict in Kamonyi District noted that the transport hitch was common as even the few available buses increased the fare.
He said that students from Kamonyi District were forced to pay Rwf 1500 to Kigali instead of the usual Rwf 500.
“Some of us have been losing our school materials like mattress and books while going for holidays because of being stranded at our schools due to failure to get means,” Ireme said.
He said that some students were compelled to hitchhike from good Samaritans from either direction on the highway.
Mellisa Uwizeye, a student from Groupe Scolaire Rwamagana in the Eastern Province, said that some drivers were taking advantage of the holidays to target students, specifically girls, stranded along the highways.
Marie Claire Ingabire, a student from Rwamagana Secondary School said: “Some students refused to study at schools that are far from their homes because of fear of facing transport hardships at the end of term, but if we continue with this initiative I am optimistic that they will now feel free to study anywhere in the country.”
The exercise was supervised by the Ministry of Education officials together with the National Police.
According to Dr Harebamungu, the programme will be organised every end of the school term.