INEQUALITY AND SEGREGATION IN RWANDAN EDUCATION SYSTEM

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When we take a close look at  what is happening in Rwanda’s education system today, there is no doubt that the RPF government runs a South African apartheid style school system that began in1953, when the South African government, dominated by white Afrikaners (Nationalist-party), passed a racist law known as “bantu education”. This racist act was designed to make sure that African children (blacks) and white children could not receive an equal education, by administrating discriminatory education curricula into black schools, which were sub-standard compared to that of white schools. Prior to this act and before the Nationalists came into power, education for Africans did not differ in content from that given to white children (including Secondary School and Universities), since the schools were run by the missionaries. As a result political activist’s heroes such as Nelson Mandela managed to graduate from the school of law despite disparities in the very low number of black children attending these schools.

When the Nationalist-dominated Parliament passed this Bantu Education Act, their portrayal of African people were that; they were inherently stupid and lazy and no amount of education could remedy that, therefore it would be a waste of time and  resources to think that they can study certain fields and become doctors, researchers, engineers or lawyers. However, examining the intention of this act, it is clear that it was a way of extending apartheid policies in black schools, by means of racial segregation within the school system (intellectual segregation), which denied the African people access to the same educational opportunities and resources enjoyed by white South Africans.

This strengthened their racist ideological views that the white race was superior to the African race, so that they can continue marginalizing and enslaving them. since it would have been difficult to continue doing so to a well-informed and educated black population. Therefore, this system was designed to make sure that African children learn and gain skills that would serve the interests of white supremacist such as to work in the factories, mines and the police, teachers, etc. While their counter-parts (whites) had better educational opportunities and resources which allowed them to gain skills in the fields such as medicine, economics and law so that they would continue to have the power over the country’s economy and leadership.

Going back to the history of Rwanda before 1959, during the tutsi monarchy system, tutsi ethnic members were filled with ideas of ethnic superiority and power, while the hutu were discriminated, marginalized and dehumanized.  Tutsis were privileged in everything including education. Their children had better access to quality education compared to the majority of hutu (85%). It is in this context that we find that the tutsi monarchy system to be very similar and as morally corrupt as apartheid system, because both have a history of oppressive rule over the majority of the population.

This apartheid system was brought back by the tutsi led RPF/Inkotanyi government in 1994, with its policies of ethnic segregation in the school system. Having first replaced French with English as the medium of instruction in the classroom knowing that 90% of the teachers did not know this language, it made the majority of hutu children who attend public schools  receive a sub-standard education. However small number of elite tutsi children have been getting proper education through private schools, equipped with enough resources and well trained teachers. Fields of study such as law, medicine, accounting, politics and etc…are reserved for them, so that they can acquire the skills and knowledge that will allow them to continue their dominance over the country’s politics and economy.

Since the decision to reduce University scholarships which were awarded to science students knowing that the majority were hutu children from poor background was taken; it is obvious that RPF government has realized the dangers of letting hutu children become University graduates. This system is very similar to the Bantu education act of 1953 as they both have a history of creating segregation within the education system. The hutu students can’t afford to pay high tuition fees, forcing them to abandon their studies, as a result they end up being inferior to their well-educated tutsi counterparts, who are equipped with skills and knowledge to become future leaders, while hutu are being groomed to be submissive to their tutsi masters.

In addition to this, the Rwandan history has been rewritten just like during apartheid, in order to deny hutu their history and identity, the tutsi led regime is now promoting myths and ethnic stereotypes, portraying every hutu to be genocidaire through its program known as NDI UMUNYARWANDA. This is designed to systematically discriminate and marginalize them, and this is reinforced by the act of making hutu children beg for forgiveness to tutsi for past killings committed by members of the hutu ethnic group. Many documentaries have already shown how the killings in Rwanda took place (e.g BBC documentary on Rwanda’s untold story), and it has now have been proven by serious academics, such as Professor Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, that the majority amongst Rwandans who were killed in 1994 were Hutus. It is time for the International community to keep a close eye on this dangerous situation, because besides creating a second class citizenry of hutu masses, this situation keeps breathing ethnic resentments that make it impossible for true reconciliation to take place.

 

Primary school refugee  learners in DRC Forests
Primary school refugee learners in DRC Forests

For the Hutu refugees currently living in Eastern DRC, the fragile education system they had set up to counter this type of intellectual genocide being perpetrated against hutu living inside Rwanda has now been thrown back into chaos by renewed attacks on the refugees by the RPF and some elements of the Congolese military.

Rwanda refugee learners in the Eastern DRC forests
Rwandan refugee learners in the Eastern DRC forests

AFERWAR-Duterimbere calls upon the International community, especially the United Nations to put an end to this cycle of persecution that the Hutu people are enduring, as the whole world looks on in a total indifference. We also call upon all members of the African community and the Rwandese community in particular, to support the work AFERWAR-Duterimbere is doing in eastern Congo, especially in areas of health and education.

http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/sidebar.php?id=65-258-2

http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/bantu-education-boycott

http://www.psmag.com/politics/what-really-happened-in-rwanda-3432

 

LOUISE MUKASINE

AFERWAR-DUTERIMBERE

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