Rwanda : Reading campaign goes to Bugesera
Teachers, parents, and students gathered at Rugarama Primary School in Ruhuha sector in Bugesera for a student reading competition on Wednesday afternoon.
The competition aimed at encouraging children to read, engage parents and the community in children’s reading, and contribute to building a reading culture.
Concern Worldwide, as part of the USAID-funded Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative, works together with Ruhuha’s Parent Teacher Committee to support community involvement in students’ education.
According to Kanzayire Olive, Rugarama Primary School headmistress and Parent Teacher Committee secretary, the idea for the event came from the parents and was supported by the committee and the school.
A total of 42 students competed in the school-wide event. Grouped by year, students took turns to come forward to ask for answers to riddles, read short texts aloud, and share poems that they had written.
Parents looked on as a panel of judges composed of a Parent Teacher Committee member, a community based trainer, and four teachers scored participants.
Headmistress Kanzayire saw parents’ impact firsthand at the competition. “The children who perform well in reading are those who have follow-up,” she observed.
Dative Uwitonze, a farmer from Bikoma village, says she provides such reading follow-up to her two children who attend the school. One of them competed in the event. She helps her children read their school books and teaches them words from the Bible.
“It will help develop the country when they are intelligent,” she says. “If parents don’t participate, the children will never get knowledge.”
Primary two student Bonheur Dukoze’s mother taught him to read when he was 5 years old. He reads in the morning at school and in the evening at home with his mother. “Reading makes someone clever,” he says. Dukuze received second place in the competitions.
Children earn higher grades and are far less likely to drop out of school when their parents are involved.
Concern’s Edouard Mutabazi suggests that parents give their children time to read and that they ask their children to read to them.
This was the first reading competition at Rugarama Primary School, but it won’t be the last. “We want to have them at least four times a year,” says Kanzayire.
This arrangement comes following the country wide reading campaign dubbed “Rwanda reads” which was launched mid this year to encourage reading at an early age.