By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda’s Minister of Education Dr. Eugene Mutimura lauds efforts by The United Stared Agency for International Development (USAID-Soma Umenye) project to donate 1,4 million text books for primary 1 to primary 3.
The books that were officially handed over to the Minister of Education and Rwanda Education Board yesterday on October 3, 2019 in Rutsiro District will reach out all primary schools to benefit children of P1, P2 and P3, where every child will have a Kinyarwanda book to read at school and at home. The books handover ceremony theme was dubbed “Reading in Kinyarwanda is the foundation of all learning”
Mutimura said that this initiative is very significant to Rwanda’s basic education as it will raise reading level of children basing on how they currently read.
“This will notably help to know the level of children knowledge in reading and will help teachers to support them making it better. When children learn to read earlier up to primary 3, their brains grow at 80 percent and it helps them to easily acquire science and other courses when they are in upper classes. Children who read are the ones to perform and succeed in secondary and university schools,” he said, adding that this initiative will enable children to open their future opportunities.
The minister advised children to open their books every day, saying that “because opening books is opening your good future. Ask your parent to help you and help each other when you are at school, take your book as your child and do not lose it, as losing it is losing your good future,” Mutimura told the children.
He thanked USAID-Soma Umenye and requested them and other partners to expand this initiative to upper classes from P4-P6. He also said that the sustainability of the books requires to file them in computers.
Dr Rene Ndayambaje, Director General of Rwanda Education Board also thanked USAID to avail one book for every child while the government had planned to give one book for five children.
“We wish that this initiative can also benefit children from primary 4, 5 and 6 to ensure that they have full package of knowledge of Kinyarwanda language both in reading and writing after they leave primary school,” he said.
U.S Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman said the initiative is the beginning and will be continuous in next years for upper classes. He said that filing these books in computers is something possible, adding that the next step will be to make and avail guides to teachers and bookshelves to make classroom libraries.
He warned teachers to avail books to the children and let them read instead of keeping them in cupboards. “You do not need to close the books in cupboards, but you should give them to children and give them time to read and help them,” Ambassador Vrooman warned.
Jean Baptiste Ndigendereho, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Congo Nil said that children will be able to gain new vocabularies from the books as they read many stories. “The books will help children to increase knowledge and reject fear to speak in public,” he noted.
USAID-Soma Umenye project works in Western Province of Rwanda, and its activities benefit 326,778 students in P1, P2, P3.
The project also works with 735 schools in Western province, including 93 from Rutsiro District. So far, 891 school leaders were trained on effective ways to monitor Kinyarwanda teaching in the whole province, and among them 124 are from Rutsiro District. 3,416 Kinyarwanda teachers were trained on effective ways of teaching Kinyarwanda in Western province, including 478 from Rutsiro District.
USAID-Soma Umenye will also distribute 2,481 bookshelves in Western Province, 512 of them will be given to Rutsiro District to make classroom libraries. 274,116 Kinyarwanda textbooks were distributed in Western Province, and of them 43,395 were given to Rutsiro District.
Only in Rutsiro District, students who benefited from this initiative account for 45,171 in P1, P2, P3.
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