The government and Imbuto Foundation have joined forces to launch a “Remedial and Catch-up Programme” aimed at assisting students who were displaced by the May 2-3 disasters in their preparation for the upcoming national exams scheduled for next month.
The devastating floods and landslides left over 20,000 people homeless, including a significant number of students. The specialized program for displaced students focuses on helping them recover lost learning materials and bridging educational gaps.
According to Pascal Bagabo, the Education Inspector in Rubavu district, approximately 1,800 students affected by flooding and landslides were temporarily residing in four accommodation sites along with their families. These students have been relocated to schools near the temporary housing facilities.
“Flooding washed away their notebooks, and due to the submerged classrooms, they were unable to study for a certain period. Currently, those still residing in the temporary accommodation sites are benefitting from the Remedial and Catch-up Program, which is supported by the Imbuto Foundation,” Bagabo explained.
As part of the program, students arrive at school early in the morning before regular classes commence, allowing them to catch up on missed lessons.
“We have also organized weekend classes for these students as they gear up for the national exams next month,” he added.
Furthermore, the students have received financial support for school feeding fees.
Across the Northern, Western, and Southern provinces, a total of 5,513 schoolchildren have been provided with school fees and necessary educational materials, as part of the relief efforts.
Priscile Kampire, the Headteacher of Shwemu secondary school in Rugerero sector of Rubavu district, shared her experience of accommodating 621 displaced students from various schools.
“We received this substantial number of students when our school already had 868 students. We had to quickly adapt to accommodate the new additions, who were also coping with the trauma of the tragedy. The Remedial and Catch-up Program is proving effective, and we are optimistic that students preparing for the national exams will perform well,” Kampire said.
Teachers have been assigned to assist the disaster-displaced students before regular classes and during weekends.
Students maintain Optimism
Jamilla Tumukunde, a senior six student at Shwemu secondary school, who is preparing for the national exams, shared her story of living in a temporary accommodation site with her parents after their house was destroyed by flooding.
“I lost all my notebooks, including those from previous academic years. I am trying to borrow notebooks from unaffected students to effectively revise for the national exams,” she explained.
Tumukunde also emphasized the need for a tent at the temporary accommodation site where students can gather at night for group study sessions, enabling them to catch up and adequately prepare for the exams.
“Our school is assisting us by making photocopies of important notes, especially those from senior four and senior six, as it would be difficult for us to rewrite them all by hand,” she added.
Honore Nshimiyumukiza, a senior three student preparing for the ordinary-level national exams, revealed that their house was completely destroyed by flooding, resulting in the loss of all school materials. During recreational periods and weekends, Nshimiyumukiza borrows notebooks from classmates.