The education ministry in collaboration with the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) is set to step up efforts to develop the arts industry as a way of creating jobs.
"Our wish is to see our artists getting wealth out of their talent," said Mathias Harebamungu, the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education. "We also want our art industry to be a source of job opportunities for those who have vocational and technical skills."
In this regard, Harebamungu said that the ministry is now preparing a curriculum for both primary and secondary students in order to help Rwandans discern their talents at an early age.
The move is part of the policy to promote vocational and technical schools (TVET) in order to build a knowledge-based economy. So far, there are more than 290 TVET schools countrywide, but only one which offers artistic courses, Nyundo Arts School in Rubavu.
In reply to this scarcity, the State Minister said that the school will be refurbished and expanded to receive many more students. "The government is aware of this situation which is why the Mineduc through WDA has decided and has already started to invest heavily in that school," Harebamungu said.
He made the remarks on Wednesday during a symposium on the arts industry and skills development for sustainable job creation through TVET to discuss ways to develop the industry. The symposium was jointly organized by WDA and the Rwanda Arts Initiative. Jerome Gasana, the director general of WDA, mentioned that their next target is to have at least one arts school in each province of the country to supplement Nyundo Arts School.
The symposium aimed to identify certain artistic genres to start with and formulate recommendations for further development of the industry. Apart from delegates from different ministries, it was also attended by experts from abroad such as Burkina Faso, Canada and the USA where arts industries have been developed.
Florence Boivin-Roumestan, a Canadian based in Rwanda, noted that the industry has a lot of potential, yet artists suffer from a lack of confidence. "Artists here are very talented, but they have a complex because they think that they are not able to compete with other countries," Boivin-Roumestan noted. "I have seen them for a long time and it's extremely good."
She also noted that Rwandan artists could make a lot of money if they asserted themselves. "Rwanda is a very secure country and thus ideal to organize any kind of festival. This would bring in a lot of money because tourists will come with no worries."