Minister: Reading gap still a concern

There is a huge gap in reading culture among youngsters, especially pupils, that local leaders and parents must strive to bridge, the State minister for primary and secondary education has said.
Mathias Harebamungu (C), the State minister for primary and secondary education, interacts with head teachers, Imbuto officials and pupils at the Rwanda Tourism College, Gisenyi campus yesterday. The New Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Mathias Harebamungu (C), the State minister for primary and secondary education, interacts with head teachers, Imbuto officials and pupils at the Rwanda Tourism College, Gisenyi campus yesterday. The New Times/Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

There is a huge gap in reading culture among youngsters, especially pupils, that local leaders and parents must strive to bridge, the State minister for primary and secondary education has said.

Mathias Harebamungu, who was yesterday speaking in Rubavu District during a reading campaign jointly organised by Imbuto Foundation and the National Library Service, said the students-teachers-parents gap in the push for reading culture is too big to be overlooked. 

Harebamungu said government will continue working with various institutions to ensure these gaps are bridged, but called for participation of all stakeholders in the endavour.

“Teachers and school heads with local leaders and parents should develop mechanisms of working more closely in this effort. It is through having our children read at a young age that simple problems like grammatical or spelling mistakes will be overcome as they grow,” he said. 

The event, held at Rwanda Tourism University College, Gisenyi campus, attracted primary school pupils, educators, local leaders and parents, among others.

Harebamungu challenged children to take it upon themselves to read whatever comes their way, saying the more pages a person reads, the more knowledge they gain.

“You are the leaders of tomorrow, you need to make informed decisions when time comes, and the quest for that information starts today–with reading,” Harebamungu said.

The campaign is being held under the theme; “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader.” 

The event was characterised by aptitude tests for students in a competition that attracted pupils from 17 primary schools in different categories.

The winners received school bags, books, sports equipment and educative toys, among other prizes.

“This is a great moment. I was confident that I will win but questions were not easy to answer, and I need to read more. My dream is to read and become a leader in the future,” Junior Rwaka, a Primary Four pupil from La Promise School.

Educators speak 

Parents and educators expressed commitment to play their role and to speed up reading culture in the country, saying it is improving.

Jacqueline Mukarukundo, the head teacher of Groupe Scholaire Stella Maris, said teachers alone would not promote the culture of reading adding there was a need for local leaders to work with parents to encourage children to read.

She said it is every teacher’s dream to have a pupil who loves reading because it makes their work easier.

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