The Education Ministry told Parliament this Tuesday that it is urgently constructing schools in four districts so that border residents do not have to cross borders.
Without mentioning “Uganda” and “Burundi” by name, Education Minister Dr Eugene Mutimura said the project will target Nyagatare, Burera, Gicumbi and Gisagara districts.
Nyagatare, Burera, Gicumbi districts all cover the entirety of Rwanda’s border with Uganda. Gisagara directly borders Burundi, with communities living along the borderline.
The education minister and his top team were in the Lower Chamber’s economy and budget committee to defend their 2020 budget, and how the last budget was used.
Dr Mutimura said the project to increase more schools has been ongoing in all districts, but will be intensified in the current financial year and the next.
To reduce overcrowding in classrooms at primary school level, Rwanda needs to build 24,500 new classrooms.
The education ministry says that every year the government builds 1,500 classrooms. For the fiscal year 2019/2020, they will build 1,100 classrooms.
“…we have prioritized the [four border districts]…we believe our children will no longer need to study outside the country. They will study in these schools. There are different programs to help them study well and we believe it will be productive,” said the education minister.
The government’s push to provide all services became such a priority following President Kagame’s speech during the Government Retreat on March 9.
The President castigated various officials for failing to set up basic services – leaving the people at borders having to cross to neighbouring countries.
The speech came about two weeks after Rwanda and Uganda began a full scale fight, in which Rwanda accuses Uganda of a range of issues.
For Burundi, the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza, imposed a “trade blockade” on Rwanda following the 2015 failed coup.
Rwanda government accuses both Uganda and Burundi of backing Rwandan dissidents, and providing recruits – with safe passage to DR Congo training camps. In regions bordering Burundi, armed assailants have killed people and fled to Burundi.
However, despite governments on either side of the borders wrangling, local communities have continued to travel across. Some Rwandans have been killed from the other side.
On Wednesday last week, while in Burera district, President Kagame wondered why people continued crossing to “our neighbours” for small things like bread, yet it can be availed back home.
Kagame said it was the failure of uncaring officials who were not providing services, forcing the citizens to search elsewhere.
In addition to schools, hospitals and markets are being constructed at a marathon pace in the border regions, especially bordering Uganda.
Back in Parliament session, for the education sector, Government has set a budget of Rwf 311billion for the coming year, up from Rwf 240billion. This is an increase of more 29%.