A while ago it was reported that the Nine-Year basic education programme was facing tough times with the Ministry of Education revealing that there was a shortage of over 3000 classrooms.
The Nine-Year Basic education programme requires certain primary schools to have a secondary section of up to Senior Three.
The then State Minster in charge of Primary and Secondary Education was reported to have said, that the Finance Ministry had only been able to release Rwf9 billion out of the Rwf47billion that MINEDUC needed.
Addressing this shortage therefore requires local communities to join hands and assist their schools with construction materials and in some cases labour if they are to benefit from the programme since it is their children that are expected to attend the same schools.
The good news is that some local communities have already embarked on helping with the construction of some classroom blocks.
Kamonyi district is one of the places where the locals are willing to help the government in the construction of the classrooms.
Again at the beginning of this week, The New Times reported that students and staff of the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) had joined efforts to support the programme with labour estimated at over Rwf2 million.
The students and staff were pictured levelling the ground to build classrooms at Groupe Scolaire de Kigarama.
With such efforts there is surely light at the end of the tunnel. And, my prayer is that other communities can emulate the example set by Kamonyi district as well as SFB.
Although the shortage of classrooms may not have been addressed by 2010 when the programme is expected to kick off it is commendable that something is being done in that direction.
MINEDUC needs to continue lobbying other stakeholders and philanthropists to support this programme in any way possible.
One of the ways to do this is for the ministry to think of courting the private sector and in particular the corporate companies that care about their image.
Through what is technically referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility, the ministry can lure big companies to help construct some of the classes.
In return, the companies can have their names and logos emblazoned on the walls. Something like, “This classroom block was built with assistance from MTN Rwanda.”
The ministry ought to exploit the fact that the private sector has grown by leaps and bounds in Rwanda. Would it not be a great idea if companies like MTN, Rwandatel, Bralirwa, Sulfo, Urwibutso, and different FM stations among others came out to support this noble cause?
The above corporate companies surely know that such efforts can go along way in enhancing their image and marketability and therefore don’t need much prompting from the ministry.
Those that cannot build the classrooms can at least provide some building materials to the ministry.
All the Ministry has to do is to set up a fund where good hearted people can make contributions in form of cash or building materials while others offer to construct the classroom blocks.
After receiving the support from individuals and private companies, the Ministry of Education can then see how best to distribute the materials to the different districts.
For their part, the local communities can provide the necessary labour for the construction of the classrooms.
Rwandans have on many occasions joined hands to ensure that certain government programmes are carried out for the good of the country.
This time round I think it is not too much to ask and if the Ministry of Finance is not in position to finance the whole project then well wishers can come on board and help.
Our president has often talked of the need to have a self sustaining economy; this is the time for Rwandans to show that a joint effort can help us achieve our goal of offering a nine year basic education for our children.Follow https://twitter.com/ssojo81