Yesterday the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education Hon. Dr. Isaac Munyakazi together with the Mayor of Gatsibo district Mr. Richard Gasana and UNHCR Protection Officer Ms. Elsie Bertha Mills Tettey inaugurated new classrooms constructed in Nyabicwamba primary school and Groupe Scolaire Nyabiheke located in Gatsibo district, a project which cost approximately 300,000 USD. A block of dischargeable latrines was also built in GS Nyabiheke.
In his address, MoS Dr. Isaac Munyakazi reiterated the Government of Rwanda’s commitment to receiving people who are forced to flee their homes and provide equal treatment for both nationals and refugees living in Rwanda.
“The Government of Rwanda doesn’t segregate children when it comes to preparing their future. The wellbeing we wish for our citizens, the same we do for our neighbors. We wish them to prosper, their kids to get proper education and feel safe,” he said.
“If people cannot get what they deserve in their countries, Rwanda is a safe haven for anyone who has been mistreated, and we give equal access to quality services for both Rwandans and refugees.”
MoS Dr. Isaac also commended the great work done by the UN Refugee Agency in Rwanda to ensure that refugee children and host communities have optimal access to education, including provision of learning materials, provision/construction of adequate learning spaces, etc.
“We are here to witness that the construction of these classrooms is a fruit of joint efforts, both by the Government of Rwanda and UNHCR. We thank the UNHCR for supporting ensuring quality education for our children and our neighbors’ children,” he said.
Worldwide of the 19.9 million refugees under UNHCR protection, 7.4 million are of school age. In some part of the world their access to education is limited, with 4 million unable to attend school. In Rwanda, UNHCR partners with the government and partner organizations to make sure quality protective education for all refugee children and young people.
The Government of Rwanda during the Leader’s Summit on Refugees about inclusion of refugees has made four commitments which include adopting an inclusive education for all refugee children living in Rwanda.
UNHCR Protection Officer Ms. Elsie highly praised the Government of Rwanda for giving priority to the integration of refugee children into the national education system.
“On behalf of UNHCR, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Rwanda for hosting refugees for decades, and particularly for ensuring protection and access to education for the refugee children,” she said.
Congolese refugee students from Nyabiheke camp make more than 95% of Nyabicwamba primary school students. Given long distance and shortage of secondary schools in the region, the Hon. Isaac requested further bilateral cooperation to build more classrooms and strengthen the capacity of the Nyabicwamba to upgrade up to a secondary school.
“Long distances to and from secondary schools are one of the main causes of school dropouts. As we have land here, I discussed with the mayor of Gatsibo and we will discuss with UNHCR to see if they can support in constructing more classrooms so that we upgrade this school to a 12 years basic education school.”