Rwanda Senate has approved a committee report that will address loopholes in executing the school’s syllabus on the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Despite the existence of a syllabus on teaching the history of genocide in primary and secondary schools, the report showed that three loopholes- in teacher’s capacity; lack of proper teaching guide, fear to state the facts, and a short time allocated to the lessons.
For instance, in stating the facts of genocide, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Security findings tabled May 8, 2023 showed that teachers and students cannot use the word Hutu or Tutsi and instead use words like – “those who were hunting, those who were hunted”- to mean the Hutu and Tutsi respectively.
The findings also showed a lack of teachers with specific capacity building in teaching the history of genocide in Rwanda and the history of the country at large (before and after the 1994 genocide).
For example, besides the Teacher Training College (TTC) training, a handful of them were last trained in workshops in 2003, and 2008 and it was only in 2017 that over 1700 received specialized post-capacity building training in Nyanza district.
Teachers appreciate the need to get extra capacity building but their feedback also showed that most of them were young during the genocide and never got a chance to visit memorial sites to learn the history of genocide thus making it hard to teach.
The teachers also said that they find themselves teaching other histories instead of the Rwandan history due to lack of specific books on it.
Teachers also showed that even when they teach the correct history of genocide, the students are mixed up with wrong information that their parents pass on to them at home.
The committee recommended that the government comes up with a specific syllabus on the history of genocide and increase the capacity of teachers especially on Genocide against Tutsi, both in Kinyarwanda and English.
They also suggested that history be given enough time on the curriculum.
The Senate asked for the government to start a Parent Teachers Association initiative to collaborate in conducting education on the genocide which can be done by public testimony, debate and discourses.
The senate had a long debate on whether the genocide syllabus should be done in English and Kinyarwanda to allow children to understand the lessons in their mother tongue, however, the committee insisted that it is important to use Kinyarwanda.
Senator Marie Rose Mureshyankwano said that it is important to know if private schools especially international schools learn this history.