Schools rewarded for promoting reading culture

APE Rugunga emerged winner of the inaugural reading and writing competition that was held at Rwanda Library Services, an event organised by Isaro Foundation (the main organiser), the Ministry of Sports and Culture among other partners.
Students in the Kigali Public Library. The Sunday Times / T. Kisambira.
Students in the Kigali Public Library. The Sunday Times / T. Kisambira.

APE Rugunga emerged winner of the inaugural reading and writing competition that was held at Rwanda Library Services, an event organised by Isaro Foundation (the main organiser), the Ministry of Sports and Culture among other partners.

Seventeen schools participated in the competition where Petit Séminaire Ndera, Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux, Christ-Roi Nyanza and HVP Gatagara were also among the top five.

The top five schools received Kindle e-book readers containing more than 400 e-books and other school material such as calculators and dictionaries.

The competition was jointly organised by Isaro Foundation in partnership with the Rwanda Library Services and supported by the American Embassy. It was meant to promote the reading and writing culture among the youth.

Isaro Foundation vice-president, Alexis Mugisha, said they organised this competition after realising that the reading culture in Rwanda was still low. He noted that their vision was to have at least one e-library in every district and that they have started by encouraging young people to read and write so that they may grow up with the culture.

The Executive Director of Rwanda Library Services, Jennifer Turatsinze, explained that they sent  topics to 17 secondary schools that have reading clubs not only to encourage them to read and write, but also work as a team.

“They were supposed to write a two-page essay about how reading culture could be promoted and then after they came and presented it to a panel of judges,” she explained. “The students had to do some research and read about the topics where we looked at their reading and writing skills and even how they expressed themselves.”

She further explained that the reading culture in Rwanda is steadily improving, giving an example of the increasing publishing houses, websites, and print media. 

“When we started the library services here we would receive only ten people on a daily basis but now the number has increased to two hundred and we have been forced to extend the closing hours from six to eight o’clock in the evening,” she said. 

For Guillaume Serge Nzabonimana, Advisor to the Minister of Culture and Sports, such an initiative should be held at the national level and he urged all stakeholders to embrace it saying that an informed society enhances economic growth and development.

The officials said that the competition is going to be an annual event where all schools will be participating.

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