The New Times (Kigali)

20 July 2012

Rwanda: Campaign to Promote Reading Culture Launched

In its endeavour to promote the reading culture among Rwandans, the Ministry of Education has launched the Rwanda Reads Initiative (RRI) a platform to cater for the public's reading needs.

The Minister of Education, Dr Vincent Biruta, yesterday, initiated the drive at the Kigali Institute of Education, at an event that attracted over 300 players in the education sector.

Through the platform, reading materials and tutorials for all age groups will be made available countrywide.

The book to student ratio in schools was recorded at a creditable 1:1, although according to the Education ministry, 30 per cent of the population is illiterate though drastic measures are being implemented to reduce the figure to at least 15 per cent.

"Through RRI, we want to commit to strengthening the reading culture in Rwanda, to improve the quality of education, which is key to achieving the country's development vision," Biruta said.

"A good reading culture is the foundation of children's early development and is paramount as a person's intellectual exercise. Parents and teachers have a crucial role in helping children and students to understand and love reading so that they can have the capacity to help their community and country".

UNICEF Representative to Rwanda, Noala Skinner, emphasised that reading initiatives must be sustainable to help the country achieve its targets.

"Reading is one of the most important aspects of growing up and shaping children's wisdom and intelligence. Children who read more are more likely to perform better at school. It is never too early to start reading. It is important for all of us to make reading a daily part of our lives," Skinner urged.

RRI will increase the availability of reading materials through support to local and regional publishers as well as facilitate traditional and mobile libraries in schools and communities.

At the function, Biruta awarded books to teachers and students present as well as selected guests.

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