On Thursday thousands of boarding students flocked to Kigali Independent University (ULK) stadium on the first day of traveling back to school, for the second term academic lessons that commences on January 9.
Dressed in different uniforms, they were dropped to ULK stadium by taxi motorcyclists and private cars, and boarded buses that were heading to various districts of Huye, Nyaruguru, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Musanze, Kayonza and Rwamagana districts.
It is the first batch scheduled to travel on January 5, according to the National Examination and School Inspection Authority (NESA). Boarding students will be transported back to school until January 8.
All students were home for a fortnight, to celebrate festival season, both Christmas and new year for 2023.
“I have given her everything she needs to study well; I have done my part as a parent. I am now the one demanding, good academic result,” Paul Butera, a parent who transported his daughter to the stadium , said.
According to the school calendar from the Ministry of Education, the second term starts on January 8 to March 31, 2023. It has a two weeks holiday that starts from April 1st to April 16, 2023.
At the entrance of the ULK stadium, traffic police directed traffic of taxi motorcyclists and private cars that were transporting students from their homes to the stadium where buses were picking them to their respective schools.
As students travel back to schools, the Ministry of Local government has warned against children dropping out of school. The Local government Ministry says local authorities are gathering information to know if “all children attend schools.”
“The ministry wants to inform the public that local authorities are gathering information to know if all children attend schools,” part of the statement reads.
“Local authorities have spent days gathering student’s information, and those who passed national examinations, but did not get money to proceed with education, for them to be supported to at least finish ordinary level,” the statement released yesterday further reads.
The statement says parents and neighbors should cooperate by giving student’s information, whenever asked by local authorities.
Fighting dropout is part of the government’s National Strategic Transformation (NST1), a seven-year plan that runs from 2017 to 2024. This plan targeted Increasing efforts to reduce dropout in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary from 5.6%, 6.3% and 3% in 2017 to 1.2%, 1.7% and 1% respectively by 2024.
To reduce the dropout rate, several efforts were planned including introducing education community workers at Cell levels, improving school data management system (SDMS) by introducing student identification numbers to track students’ evolution, and working with parents through School General Assembly Committees (SGACs).
Besides government relentless efforts to keep children in schools, in the first academic term, hundreds of students were recorded absenteeism, with a worry these figures could turn into dropout cases if absent students spend six months without reporting to school.
For example, Rwamagana district reported over 700 students who did not attend term one, Gatsibo reported 101, and Rubavu district reported over 1000 children.