Africa-Press – Rwanda. Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has said that through producing textbooks within the country, Rwanda has in the past two years saved Rwf6.2 billion on the expenditure it incurred on importing the books abroad.
He also noted that the initiative reduced the time it took to procure them.
Ngirente was on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 informing a joint plenary sitting of Parliament about the Government’s activities in the education sector.
The Government came up with that strategy in 2018 with the aim to address the issues identified in the purchasing, printing and distribution of textbooks that were produced by foreign publishing houses.
Moreover, the Premier said, the Ministry of Education currently has the copyright for the books used in schools and the right to correct mistakes or errors that might be detected in some of the books after distribution,” he said.
In May 2018, the Ministry of Education said that the country had been spending over Rwf6 billion on textbooks and related materials every year.
In collaboration with the Government’s education partners, Ngirente said that in 2019, over one million of Ikinyarwanda textbooks for Primary 1 to Primary 3 were written [and printed locally], adding that they were distributed in schools so that they help children learn the indigenous language.
Parliamentarians commended the efforts made to ensure that the country gets its textbooks printed locally, and saving money.
However, they urged more efforts to increase the local production capacity to ensure timely supply of textbooks.
“It has been realised that there are delays in the provision of textbooks to schools because the inadequate capacity of the Rwanda Printery Company (RPC) Ltd,” said MP Damien Nyabyenda, proposing that the money saved thanks to the domestic production of the textbooks should be invested in increasing the capacity of RPC.
Nyabyenda is also the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee in charge of education.
The same concern was expressed by MP Valens Muhakwa, who said that the tardy distribution of the needed books in schools might impair the quality of education.
“Sometimes books reach schools when an academic year is about to come to an end. I think this can result in the failure to cover all the subjects that students were supposed to,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the interruptions in taking textbooks to schools were not caused by the move to produce them locally, rather the tender that overwhelmed the capacity of the local printery services.
“What is being done is that the Ministry of Education is working with printing companies to increase their capacity so that they are able to make us self-reliant in books because we will be publishing books every year,” he said.