Only education can ensure a future of mankind: Williams Nkurunziza, High Commissioner of Republic of Rwanda in India

The High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda in India H.E. Williams Nkurunziza has emphasized the importance of education and teachers saying only education can ensure a future of mankind. He was addressing a gathering of faculty, staff and students of the Shobhit University, Meerut on Teachers' Day.

His Excellency Mr. Williams NKURUNZIZA,High Commissioner,The Republic of Rwanda in Shobhit University.His Excellency Mr. Williams NKURUNZIZA,High Commissioner,The Republic of Rwanda in Shobhit University....

MEERUT, Uttar Pradesh, September 13, 2011 /India PRwire/ -- The High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda in India H.E. Williams Nkurunziza has emphasized the importance of education and teachers saying only education can ensure a future of mankind. He was addressing a gathering of faculty, staff and students of the Shobhit University, Meerut, on Teachers' Day, yesterday.

Mr. Nkurunziza said, learning forms the basis of all civilization and development of mankind. When this process of learning and sharing the knowledge is broken societies and systems are bound to break down. Citing his country as a living example to develop better understanding of the role of education in social evolution, he explained that the civil war ravaged Rwanda has almost transformed itself into a throbbing democracy in a short span of 17 years, since the return of normalcy in 1994, only due to assigning highest priority to education in the country. This has led the Rwandan people to better understanding of themselves.

Explaining the reasons behind the probably worst genocide on the earth that took place in just 100 days in April-July 1994, Mr. Nkurunziza said Rwandan people had been since times immemorial classifying themselves into three different vocation-based classes, viz. Hutus, Tutsis and Twas. These classes represent farmers, live-stock rearers and technical endowed people who also engaged in hunting and fishing. Two main classes Hutus and Tutsis were interchangeable. Any Hutu became Tutsi as soon as he started having 10 cattle-head and any Tutsi became a Hutu as soon as he reduced the number of his cattle-head to less than 10. Yet the colonial forces and later the native politicians were successful in spreading deep rooted hatred amongst the two classes. This may happen only in a grossly uneducated society. He said that his country got freedom from external forces in 1962, but those in the power till 1994 did not invest in education. During those 32 years Rwanda had an almost non-existent primary and secondary education set-up with just one university which could churn out only less than 3000 graduates till 1994.

After the truce and political stability coming to the nation under the new leadership, Rwanda decided to spend 30 per cent of its GDP on education to all Rwandan children. This has resulted in over 98 per cent literacy rate in the country. In last 17 years, the country has set up 29 universities where all modern disciplines are taught. Currently, approximately 68,000 students are studying for graduate and post-graduate degrees. The country has reserved 50 percent parliamentary seats for the women and at present the national parliament has around 56 percent female representatives. Health services are within reach of all Rwandan people. Though the availability of trained medical personnel per lakh people is less than expectations, the government is taking steps to raise the number of medical education institutions to meet the demand of the nation.

The High Commissioner of Rwanda also said that India had an important role in helping Rwanda meet its challenges. He pointed out that some Rwandan students are already enrolled in Indian universities. Later, replying to the queries of the audience, Mr. Nkurunziza appreciated the facilities at the Shobhit University and hoped that the Shobhit University would lend its support in developing research facilities in Rwanda.

In his presidential address the Pro-Chancellor of Shobhit University Kunwar Shekhar Vijendra announced four scholarships for Post-Graduation students from Rwanda. He also expressed intentions that the university shall explore possibilities of contributing to the higher education system in Rwanda by way of collaborating with an existing university or opening up a university there.

Earlier, the welcome address was given by Prof (Dr.) Anoop Swarup, the Vice Chancellor of the university. Prof. Abhay Kumar proposed vote of thanks to the guests and the gathering. Those present on occasion included directors of various schools of the university, faculty members, students and a number of invited guests.


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