26 January 2013

Rwanda: Gasabo Authorities Close Girubuntu Primary School

Gasabo district authorities yesterday closed Girubuntu Nursery and Primary School over poor infrastructure, affecting studies for more than 300 pupils.

The district mayor, Willy Ndizeye told The New Times that the decision was reached after an inspection showed that the school's buildings were dilapidated.

"The school did not have all the requirements which allow it to operate such as space because of the large number of pupils, technical aspects and lack of proper curricula" said Ndizeye said yesterday.

However, Frank Ntare one of the school's founders said the decision was not taken in good faith.

"We got a letter for school requirements which include buildings, curricula, and leadership of the school. Ninety per cent of the requirements were fulfilled and the mayor told us to renovate some of the blocks. We used school fees to carry out the renovation," Ntare said.

"But shockingly, he told us the building did not meet the standards."

The school had temporarily relocated to the closed premises following wrangles between two groups - Girubuntu and Umubano - over the school ownership.

Girubuntu Primary School relocated to the closed premises after the APIE organisation which had donated the school to parents later asked to repossess the land on which the school is located, last July.

That is when the management decided to relocate to makeshift premises, while proceeding with the case.

Emmanuel Rubambana, a parent of two affected pupils said he received news of the school closure with shock because he had just paid school fees.

"We had written a letter to the mayor as parents committee to give us more time as we fulfil what was required, but I was shocked to see children return home saying the school had been closed," he said.

When The New Times visited the school, teachers and other support staff looked stranded as police sealed off the premises.

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