The New Times (Kigali)

24 February 2013

Rwanda: Turkish School Officially Opens

Hope Kids Academy, an international Turkish school located in Kigali's prime suburb of Nyarutarama, was on Friday evening officially opened.

The school that admits children of four and five years of age offers Cambridge International Primary Programme (CIPP) and Cambridge ICT starters' programme.

The academy has both nursery and primary sections.

The initial class of 2013 had about 40 pupils enrolled, but the institution is targeting to reach a maximum of 100, the required capacity of the temporary facility that houses the school.

The colourful event that was attended by parents and government officials saw pupils entertain the guests with songs and poems.

Speaking at the occasion, Isa Gokturk Yilmaz, the head teacher of the school, said the school invested in Rwanda following President Paul Kagame's visit to Turkey in March 2011, where he met several Turkish business community members and invited them to come and invest in Rwanda.

"Consequently, our chairman and founder of Reca Limited decided to come and invest in this country. Our school's mission is to raise children who are globally minded and locally based. We are dedicated to groom the future leaders of Rwanda for a brighter and more peaceful tomorrow," he said.

Yilmaz added that although their school is focused on international education, they respect the local culture and language.

According to schools authorities, the Turkish Academy has attracted pupils from Somalia, Rwanda, Kenya and Turkey, but targeting to receive as many nationals as possible.

Hope Kids Academy offers English, Mathematics, Science, Kinyarwanda and computer lessons and the medium of instruction is English, but the school teaches music, art and physical education lessons in French.

The academy is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the computer science lab with smart boards and internet access, art room, music and sports facilities.

"The school offers international standards that are friendly and unique. Our children are really comfortable with the school," said Serrah Wafua, a parent.

She said teachers-pupils relationship at the Academy is good and she really likes the school.

The school plans to have a permanent facility that will accommodate 1,000-1,500 students and will open a high school and a university in two and five years to come, respectively.

Erasme Rwanamiza, the director general of Education and Planning at the Ministry of Education, commended the Turkish school for promoting education.

"The government supports the growth of private schools and we encourage more and more international schools to open in Rwanda."

Claire Akamanzi, the acting CEO of Rwanda Development Board, said many Turkish investors have already started investing in Rwanda.

"The government of Rwanda and Turkey have worked together to promote investments between the two countries," she noted.

"Apart from Hope Kids Academy, Turkish Airlines started flights to Kigali last year; there is an investor in real estate and Hakan Mining and Generation Industry that is going to produce 100 megawatts of power. We hope to see more and more Turkish investors coming to invest in Rwanda," Akamanzi said.

Jeanne Kayitesi, another parent at the school, expressed satisfaction after touring the school's facilities.

"With all these unique facilities and good teachers, we hope our children will get a nice education. The tuition fee is not too much compared to what the skills they will get from this school," she said.

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