A total of 4688 children of who the majority are in primary school-going age bracket from 17 sectors of Burera district have abandoned school for various reasons in the first two months of 2017.
The major reasons cited for dropping out are seeking for work where they do provide labor and domestic conflicts.
Talking to IGIHE, one of the children said; “My parents divorced. Our mother left six of us with our father. My dad suspended my studies so I could take care of my younger siblings, ” she said.
Burera vice mayor for economic affairs, Habumuremyi Evariste has told IGIHE that the matter is well known and set to be addressed soon.
“We had 4233 children drop outs in primary schools and 455 from secondary schools. We have taken measures and some of them have returned to school. ” he said.
“It is hard for children to go to school in the morning when parents are involved in fist-fights all the time or when parents are divorced. Domestic conflicts top the major causes of school drop outs in most cases,” he added.
Habumuremyi explained that they have taken measures of talking to parents of school-abandoning children, making a list of families in conflicts to be tipped on improving relationships and punish those that engage child-labour.
According to Habumuremyi, parents forcing children to leave schools are ashamed in public gatherings, warned at sector level or pay a fine of Rwf 5,000.
Statistics from Burera district indicate that 3,357 primary school children and 253 secondary school students returned to school in 2017.
When he visited Gakenke district on 24th March 2016, President Paul Kagame said that parents overworking children and failing to send them to school would be punished. He instructed education officials and local leaders to follow up the matter.