Rwanda: Back to School - Few Students Turn Up for Mass Transport on Day One

There was a slow start to students' return to school on Thursday, April 15 as few of them showed up for the mass transportation exercise organized for them by government.

Since last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, government has been organizing exclusive movement for students to and from school in order to protect them from contracting the virus.

In this context, on Thursday, April 15, students in boarding schools began heading back to school after spending a short Easter Holiday home.

They were also home for the week to commemorate the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Working together with Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority among other partners, the education ministry mobilized vehicles and designated pick-up points for students to return to their respective schools starting on Thursday, April 15.

For the day, it was scheduled students from Nyanza, Musanze, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Kayonza and Rwamagana districts would be transported to their schools; and later on, those from other parts of the country would follow.

In Kigali, the organisers expected thousands of students to turn-up at the Kigali Stadium, the designated pick-up point for those heading upcountry, but only a handful turned up.

By the end of business on the day, statistics showed that only 1,086 students had turned up for the exercise, a number that way less than that which was expected.

Speaking to this newspaper, Vianney Kavutse, the Head of Basic Education and TVET Quality Assurance at the National Examination and School Inspection Authority, one of the institutions that are partnering in the activity, noted that the level of responsiveness was low.

"The level of responsiveness is low compared to what we expected. We expected about 81,461 students," said.

Kavutse said the low turn-up can be blamed on parents who did not respect the calendar released by government.

He called upon the parents to put more effort into respecting the Ministry of Education's schedule in regard to students' return to school.

"We want to continue to call upon the parents send their children back to school. We ask them to provide for them the needed school requirements, including school fees," he said.

The transportation exercise is continuing.

On Friday, schools from Huye, Gisagara, Gakenke, Ngororero, Nyabihu, and Bugesera districts will also receive students.

Students studying in Ruhango, Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Gicumbi, Rulindo, Karongi, Rutsiro, Ngoma and Kirehe districts are expected to commute on Saturday.

In regard to the prevention of Covid-19, preventive measures are mandatory in schools include wearing of facemask, practising social distancing, washing hands and temperature testing before entering the school premises.

Every school is also expected to have a Covid-19 task force that monitors the implementation of the set guidelines.

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