Rwandan youth about to go abroad for studies, together with those already there but currently back in the country, are undergoing a two-week civic education workshop at the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako.
The workshop, called Ingando and which will be conducted annually, started yesterday with the theme: “The combined role of government and parents in preparing Rwandan youth studying abroad for their role in national development”.
President Paul Kagame officiated at the inauguration, using the interaction with the young men and women to urge them to live up to the true Rwandan traditional and cultural values.
Participating students could hardly have got a better speaker than President Kagame, given his historical background. He is a veteran moulder of young minds, shaping them into focused achievers.
At one time in the past he passionately talked young people into discovering their identity and potential. It was not, though, proud students on government scholarships or those with well-off parents, studying in prestigious colleges abroad. It was children of refugee parents.
They were not being educated on the national economy, politics and security – they did not have a nation. The topic then was how to fight for regaining mother Rwanda. When the mission was realised in 1994, automatically there was refocusing.
Patriotism had brought the young fighters home. And the same patriotism was required on the part of those who were born to parents that never fled. It was time for reintegration, reconciliation and national unity.
The solid “Rwandaness” mark which the workshop seeks to leave onto young minds is as much a sign of how far this nation has come, as it is for the long way to go. Everything so far put in place is so fragile it can be wiped away tomorrow if the young are not prepared today to take over the mantle.
Ingando for the students going abroad and those already there should thus be hailed as another effort aimed at consolidating the development process, thereby making it sustainable.