New campaign to inculcate cultural passion in students

The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) has launched a special outreach programme targeting secondary school students across the country to help nurture interest in the students to visit the museums and learn about the history of the country and its people.
A GC Gatagara student exhibits at a mini-fair. The New Times/ JP Bucyensenge
A GC Gatagara student exhibits at a mini-fair. The New Times/ JP Bucyensenge

The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) has launched a special outreach programme targeting secondary school students across the country to help nurture interest in the students to visit the museums and learn about the history of the country and its people.

The programme, dubbed Museums in Schools, started last week with an awareness campaign at Groupe Scolaire Gatagara.

The campaign comes on the back of a chorus of lamentations that Rwandans lack curiosity, passion and zeal to discover the beauty, wonders and the cultural heritage of their country.

Some of the most known national attractions include parks, natural forests and rare wildlife.

Rwanda’s museums remain one of the most distinguished places for visitors, thanks to its cultural diversity. The museums house rare artefacts from the pre and post-colonial era as well as lifestyle elements and illustrations of development of Rwanda into a modern state.

Initially, the campaign will reach 10 schools in Huye district between March and June, according to Faustin Nsengimana, INMR’s outreach museums programmes coordinator.

The programme will later be extended to other schools across the country, the official added.

Changed mindset

Nsengimana said they expect students to turnout massively after the  campaign, adding their target is to develop youth that attach much importance to cultural heritage.

He castigated the belief that museums are only a privilege of the elite and foreigners, saying entrance fee for locals is “very little.”

“That is a misconception we want to address, starting with the youth,” Nsengimana said.

The entry fee for students is Rwf500, but if they come in a group of more than 20 students, the price is reduced to Rwf300 per individual.

Rwanda has six museums and about 80 historical sites.

Brother Jean Jacques Mulopwe, the assistant director of Gatagara school, welcomed the move.

“Museums give a chance to these young individuals to know their past and build from it to prepare their future,” he said, adding that his school is already working on a plan to see students visit museums regularly.

Jessica Umugwaneza, a senior four student, said, “This is a wonderful initiative. I have once visited the ethnographic museum in Huye and learnt a lot of things on our history that I did not know. But some young people are still ignorant and not interested, so they need special attention because what is there can help us variously.”

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