Last week, I attended the Imbuto Foundation awards ceremony at Kagarama High School. Girls were awarded for their exceptional performed in the 2010 National Examinations. The mood at the grounds was electrifying. A mixture of male and female voices suffocated the air in applause, cheers and song. It was all jubilation.
Women in different professions were in attendance. I later realised that the celebration went beyond the success of the girls. As the women’s dance troupe stumped on the ground in well calculated and coordinated dance movements, they symbolically trampled on historical suppression, oppression and segregation that have been dogging them in their attempts to spring out of the bruising iron grasp of patriarchal power.
Long gone are the days when education was a preserve of selected and maybe distinguished men. This is the reason why this year’s remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi should also celebrate the gains of the liberated women in Rwanda’s society.
After the 1994 liberation war, the shackles of men’s oppressive authority fell off and today, more women hold dignified positions in society and contribute to the national development agenda.
Currently, the enrollment of girls and boys in schools is almost getting to the ratio of 1:1. Due to the gender sensitive policies of the Government, the performance of girls has continued to soar in recent years with more girls making it to the top of the national rankings.
It is not a secret that the total number of graduates in the country from 1963 to 1994 was only 2000; today over 6,000 students graduate every year.
The developments in education over the last 17 years have seen a massive expansion and proliferation of education institutions as well as the revision of the curriculum to suit the current trends in education.
Saying that accessibility to education has increased is an understatement. The Government’s budgetary allocations for education have seen an upward trend following the introduction of programmess like free basic education and ICT subsidies for schools among other things.
The shift from Francophone to Anglophone system and the subsequent joining of the Commonwealth Organization have furthered the country’s vision. The gains that have already been realized and those anticipated are innumerable.
In general, much has happened in the last 17 years that each Rwandan should celebrate today. The change depicted in the physical outlook of the country speaks volumes.
Some historians define history as the study of the past so as to correct the future. As we commemorate our tragic past, the younger generation should be made aware of the consequences of ethnic divisionism and hold on to the rationale of holding the national fabric clean and whole for present and future prosperity.