By Elias Hakizimana.
The Ministry of Education with development partners will start to distribute over a million of text books to further reading culture among children in Primary one to primary three countrywide.
The message was revealed by Dr Rose Baguma, Director General of Education Policy & Planning in the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) on Monday during the concluding ceremony of literacy month in Nyagatare District, Eastern province.
The theme of this year’s literacy month was “Reading and Writing in different languages is the source of knowledge”
Dr Baguma said however the number of books is still few, some initiatives that are in line with boosting inclusive education are being planned by the government where over 1 million of books will be distributed in October 2019 in all primary schools for P1 up to P3.
She commended the results by recent Community work ‘Umuganda’ that emphasized on helping children to read where about 3000 books were distributed in 30 sites where this activity took place.
The concluding literacy month day also involved recognition of best children who wrote good books about human daily lives.
“This month is very important to encourage Rwandans to read and write and it helps children adapt to advanced classes. We need to write our life stories and help the community to access to reading materials,” she said.
The government targets to have 100 percent of community libraries by 2020 and now this is at 73 percent.
53 of over 800 students who participated in ‘Gira Igitabo’ or Have a Book writing competition were awarded.
3 of 8 best students from Eastern province whose books were chosen for success shared testimonies on the role of reading and writing in the society.
Faustine Uwiduhaye, 10, from Musanze District, Muko sector is a student in Primary 6. She wrote a book titled “Fifi, Umukobwa w’amakenga” or Fifi, the girl who doubts. Her book warns girls children to avoid men who can lure them into temptations such as rape.
Her 15-page book narrates how Fifi denied money of a shop keeper who took her at home in a car when it was raining and told her to not reveal her parents.
Bryan Cyusa Josua, 12, a senior 3 student also wrote a book about Kinyarwanda language, titled “NTIBAVUGA BAVUGA” aiming at helping other children to know a proper Kinyarwanda language use.
Ganza Mucyo David, 13, wrote a book titled ‘Umumotari Kaliza’ or Kaliza the Tax Motorcyclist. The book encourages equality of both girls and boys when it comes to certain occupations.
The literacy month was supported by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Sport and Culture (MINISPOC) with development partners including Save the Children Rwanda, USAID-Mureke Dusome, USAID-Soma Umenye, Soma Rwanda, Arise Book Education and Anglican Church to name few.
Participants to the ceremony of closing the literacy month visited the Community Library built by Gahini Anglican Church in Karangazi Sector, Nyagatare District where the event took place.
This library hosts 2539 books written in Kinyarwanda, French and English and 648 of them are in Kinyarwanda.
Apollinaire Hakizimana, Archdeacon of Gahini Diocese said that all teachers in 250 churches of the Diocese have responsibilities to teach children to read. “We plan in two years to set up small libraries in our 59 parishes. The present library here in Karangazi sector lacks computers and efficient and enough furniture to help children read comfortably,” he said.
Mushabe David Claudian, Mayor of Nyagatare District commended efforts by USAID-Rwanda and other partners to avail books for children and the community in general.
“This is very helpful for our citizens. In our culture, people did not know the role of reading and writing but now this knowledge is being fostered,” Mushabe said.
Rosalie Ndejuru, an expert in Rwanda Archives and Library Services(RALSA) in the Ministry of Sport and Culture (MINISPOC) reiterated that churches have a pivotal role in cultivating the culture of reading and writing.
Luann Gronhovd, Education Office Director in USAID-Rwanda said that they will continue to help the Government to promote the culture of Reading as it accelerates knowledge-based economy that is also under the National Strategy for Transformation.
She said that this will be done through production of high quality reading materials for classrooms where 1,4 million text books written in Kinyarwanda will be distributed before this year ends.
“We support reading clubs across the country and the government of Rwanda has been developing a national reading policy that is also helpful. We need to come together and create ideas on how to make adequate access to books possible,” she noted.
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