57 schools in Rwanda to be shut down over poor facilities

Students head to the classrooms at a secondary school in Rwanda. The government has shutdown 57 schools for failure to provide conducive learning environment. FILE PHOTO | NMG

With a few days left to the opening of the third term, the Rwandan government has ordered closure of some 57 secondary schools over their state of facilities. Most of the schools are run by or affiliated with the Catholic Church –  including the renowned Saint Andre in Nyamirambo and Groupe Officiel de Butare — built in 1929.

The Ministry of Education ordered the shutdown after its inspectors visited about 90 schools and found that some had were unclean and lacked proper sanitation areas, adequate accommodation facilities and lighting. Many others were cited for having unutilized information and communications technology equipment and school management problems.

The inspection, carried out earlier this week, was a follow up exercise to confirm if recommendations the ministry had given in previous reports had been implemented.

“These are secondary schools and predominantly boarding schools. Our inspectorate reports indicated negligence in hygiene mostly in kitchens, lavatories and dormitories.

“We also found some did not have enough food for boarding students while others had shelved computers given to them in the ongoing smart-classrooms programme,” said Dr. Eugene Mutimura, the Minister of Education.

“We are confident that at least within this time frame, if the headteachers, the parents and the leaders of the schools work hard they are able to complete what is required of them, but we shall hold them accountable if they fail to do so, because we are not asking them the impossible,” Dr Mutimura said.

However for some schools, it will be a tough order to fund the renovations.

The Groupe Officiel de Butare managers said they estimate an upgrade of its structures to cost Rwf1 billion ($1.1 million)