Saturday 8 August 2020
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newtimes - 1 month ago

Learning space: Why more classrooms will boost students’ performance

On July 4, residents of Gahanga sector in Kicukiro District witnessed with excitement the unveiling of a new school. The assembly, said to have cost about Rwf2.5 billion, is called G.S Karembure.  Nicolas Hakizimana, a parent whose children will be students at the new school, says his children have been struggling. “Our children were walking about four to five kilometres to reach remote schools. It was challenging for parents with very young children as we had to escort them by foot to the school. This used to disrupt our work as parents, and it was tiresome for all of us,” he says.  He says that having a school nearby is a relief as they used to send their children to sectors of Nyarugenge District and other sectors of Kicukiro District located so far. “The school is now a solution to the big problem we were facing. The long distance that our children used to walk was affecting their performance in class. They were not getting enough time to revise their notes since many hours were spent on long walks,” he adds. The modern school has 36 classrooms that can accommodate 2,160 students. It has necessities such as playgrounds, a dining hall and kitchen, library, two laboratories for biology, chemistry and physics, as well as two smart classrooms that will help students carry out research and gain more knowledge. The school will be managed by the Catholic Church following a public-private partnership. The Church provided the land for the construction of the school. “The school must be well maintained. Parents must fight the school dropout issue by sending all their children to school,” said Kigali City Mayor, Pudence Rubingisa, who graced the launch. Given the current Covid-19 pandemic and the need to avoid crowding, the school is expected to reduce congestion in S Nyanza, G.S Gahanga I and Gahanga II Primary schools since some of students from those three schools will go to the new school. Every classroom among the schools being constructed across the country will have 23 desks and about 40 students. Currently, there is an average of 75 to 100 children per classroom in primary schools, well above the 46 to 50 students recommended internationally.  Increasing storied school buildings In order to save land from the growing population, storied buildings, including schools, are being recommended. The 36 classrooms in the new storied school is part of the drive to increase storied school buildings. Recently, Samuel Mulindwa, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, said that at least 400 classrooms in storied buildings are supposed to be constructed, among over 22,000 classrooms across the country before the academic year starts in September, 2020. Of the classrooms to be constructed, over 11,000 will be financed by the World Bank at the cost of Rwf123 billion, while the other 11,000 classrooms will be funded by the national budget worth Rwf85 billion. At least 31, 932 latrines will also be constructed and 517,500 desks worth Rwf23 billion will be supplied. 81 twelve-year basic education schools will also have TVET classrooms by September at the cost of Rwf10 billion.  At the end of 2019, the Government of Rwanda and the World Bank signed a $200 million financing agreement to improve teacher competency and student retention and learning in basic education (pre-primary through secondary school) in Rwanda in order to address the issue of overcrowding in Rwandan schools.

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