8 January 2013

Rwanda: Farg Cuts Ties With Three Schools

The Fund for Support to Genocide Survivors (FARG) has transferred over 500 students it supports from three secondary schools, citing poor education standards among other things.

' We are here but we don't know what next since the school consisted of almost students sponsored by FARG

The decision was reached during a meeting of FARG and its over 400 partner schools on January 4.

The affected schools are APERWA in Gasabo district which lost 416 students, Muhazi College from Rwamagana, 79 students and, ESECOM Musange in Nyamagabe district which lost 47 students.

Theophile Ruberangeyo, the Executive Secretary of FARG explained that the decision followed numerous complaints from students about the quality of education, feeding, and lack of scholastic materials among other facilities despite the fact that FARG has paid all the school dues.

"We have received complaints from the students at Muhazi College. They said they were not given the quality of education they deserved and also endured poor food for a long time. Rwamagana district intervened but students could not get scholastic material in general," Ruberangeyo told The New Times.

He added that the students from APERWA had protested the poor service they were being offered in school.

"We visited the school only to discover they were not studying well, they were not fed well and teachers were not getting their salaries on time," said Ruberangeyo.

"We paid all the money we owed the schools but we wonder why they should not offer quality education. We have been negotiating with the schools in vain. Since our annual contract was over, we decided not to renew it but transfer the children to other schools,"

The students from Muhazi College were transferred to ESSA Nyarugunga in Kicukiro district.

Those from APERWA were transferred as follows, 104 offering Accounting to G S Indangaburezi in Ruhango district, 34 students doing HEG to Lycée de Ruhango, 18 MEG students were tranfered to ECOSE Musambira, 36 doing construction to ISETAR Runda, 19 from electricity were taken to Maranata Nyanza in Nyanza district.

At least 47 students from ESECOM Musange were transferred to Lycée de Ruhango and Maranata.

However, Francois Karake, the legal representative of APERWA, said the transfer of students was done without considering efforts the school has put to improve.

"We have received no warning letter from FARG and got no complaints from the students about studies, food and living conditions which we could have solved," said Karake.

"Our teachers were not permanent because the salary was not good and used to part time in other schools but we had revised the salaries even before the decision was taken. We also held a meeting with the district and I showed them the school's action plan. This decision is really surprising and unfavourable," he said, adding that they can do better once given the opportunity.

The director of studies at APERWA Viateur Uwiragiye said that teachers have got their revised salaries and they are ready to sign contracts.

He said the conditions for the students have been improved and the basic materials for practice have been bought.

"This decision is not good for us as we were on track to solve all the problems. We wish we got more time and FARG monitors if we have changed things in a positive way other than surprising us in such a way," said Uwiragiye.

APERWA is now left with about 200 students.

The officials from the school said teaching will continue.

However, students worry about how they will be studying while over two third of their colleagues been transferred to other schools.

"We are here but we don't know what next since the school consisted of mostly students sponsored by FARG.Some classes will be almost empty without that big number," said one of the students, preferring anonymity.

According to Marthe Yankurije, the Education Inspector in Kigali City who was also following the problem at APERWA, the city supervises the schools and requests them to comply with education rules like having all stipulated requirements.

She added that in case a school fails to comply, the measures should be taken but students shouldn't be victims of the poor services.

She promised to closely watch the affected schools so that the students who remained are treated well or transferred to other schools.

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