On March 14, after the first Coronavirus patient was diagnosed in Rwanda, it was immediately decided that all schools would be closed and that all students would return home and instead pursue classes online.
REB DG9 Dr. Ndayambaje Irénée told IGIHE that by the time the schools are open, there will be a lot to change because the curriculum will be different from what it used to be focusing mostly on online classes.
“Another factor is related to the hygiene and sanitation in schools. While classrooms are being built, there are also special plans to build permanent toilets in our schools.” Said Ndayambaje.
“We also want children to develop this habit of washing hands because in addition to protecting people from COVID-19 it also promotes hygiene in schools and as we learn it in schools and in our homes, we will be able to reduce incidences of childhood-related diseases. It’s something people should expect.”
REB said that there is also a program to feed children at schools where they will all be provided with meals. In 2014, the Government of Rwanda launched a program to feed 9- and 12-year-old children in primary education to help them improve their level of achievement without losing their temper.
In the first four years, the program was given a budget of Rwf 5.5 billion, but in the previous fiscal year it reached Rwf 7 billion.
“We had a program to feed the children in the secondary schools; you find cases of a child studying in primary school having their elder sibling in their first year of high school; when it is lunchtime one would go to school for lunch when the other will have to pack their lunch or go home to eat.” He said.
Now the government has decided that all children will eat at schools, for it improves their performance.
Recent data show that at one center in Kigali City, parents are required to pay Rwf 12,000 per quarter which is Rwf 4000 per month. The state government pays Rwf56 per child per day.
Last year, the attendance recorded of student 9-12-years primary school were at 97.3%, Kigali City came on the top 100% attendance, North recorded 99.4% attendance, Western Province with95.2%, Southern 97.3 %, Eastern Province also had a turnout of 97.3%.
Concerns about the rising of school fees
Some parents and caregivers who recently spoke to IGIHE pointed out that due to the preparations that will be made to prevent COVID-19 while schools are open; it is more likely that the cost will be higher than before.
Schools will be required to provide sanitation facilities, social distance system, increase the amount of water used for washing, building new classrooms, technology and more. It is expensive and more likely is expected to be paid by the student.
The institution will not build new schools or bring in new technology and when it comes to determining the tuition fees ignore all those expenses.
“You could say that the fact that the school bring water system. It means that the tuition fee is going to increase, but we have to go back and think to the cost we paid for the lack of water, the diseases and poor sanitation. Schools should not be afraid that this is going to be another burden so it should raise school fees, everything is counted, and water expenses are counted. We don’t think it is going to be very expensive but it’s something people wanted, it’s important to have It.” said Dr.Ndayambaje.