Imbuto Foundation yesterday rewarded 135 female students from the City of Kigali and surrounding districts for their outstanding performance in last year’s national examinations.
The recipients are part of 225 girls who will receive awards in Gasabo, Nyabihu, Gatsibo, Karongi and Ngoma districts between March 30-31.
The rewards include scholastic materials, laptops and funds to open savings accounts.
Rewarding criteria is based on the best girl per sector at primary school level; the best girl per district at O-Level; and the best five girls per province in A-Level.
It is part of the annual Best Performing Girls campaign launched by First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
Speaking at yesterday’s function at Rwanda University College of Education (former KIE) Donatille Mukabalisa, the Speaker of Parliament applauded the girls for their academic excellence.
Mukabalisa also encouraged girls to hold back the negative perception that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a preserve for males.
“We encourage girls to break historical social, economic and cultural barriers that prevented them from performing as well as they could. In this regard we motivate girls to develop technical and vocational skills which were considered as ‘hard lessons’ only suitable for males,” Mukabalisa said.
Statistics from Workforce Development Authority shows that the number of girls in vocational schools is still low despite steady improvement.
The report says there are no girls offering electronics and ICT, engineering and mechanics, but rather opt for secretarial and arts courses.
“I want to ask stakeholders, Rwanda Education Board, Workforce Development Authority, Rwanda Development Board and parents to check on this and create incentives that will encourage girls to take up technical and vocational courses,” said Mukabalisa.
Mukabalisa challenged the girls to be motivated by the awards to achieve more.
Mayor tips on priority
The City of Kigali mayor, Fidel Ndayisaba, urged girls to focus on their abilities, goals and objectives as to achieve their childhood dreams.
“You need not to rely on what you were taught in schools alone but rather have curiosity to research, dig deep and discover more. This way, you will improve your knowledge and ability,” said Ndayisaba.
The mayor cautioned girls against getting excited by material possessions and urged them to value their bodies.
Celestine Ashimwe, one of the best performing students in last year’s O-Level exams from Lycee Notre Dame De Citeaux after scoring a maximum Aggregate 8 in eight subjects, said “hard work pays off, there is no shortcut.”
Now in senior four at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology offering Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ashimwe’s dream is to become a virologist to help in fighting viruses.
Since the campaign began in 2005, more than 3,400 girls have been recognised for their academic performance. This year alone, 433 girls will receive awards.