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Thousands of Burundian Refugees’ Children Join Rwanda Schools, Report

Thousands of children of Burundian refugees in Rwanda have been integrated into Rwandan schools, according to the Rwanda humanitarian situation report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


The report that was released to the media on Thursday indicates that about 19,422 students are enrolled in Primary One to Secondary Six grades in the Rwandan schools across the country.

Since July last year, all Burundian children of school-going age started going through a five-month induction programme aimed at acquainting them with the Rwandan education system before starting school this year.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Antoine Ruvebana, permanent secretary of Rwanda ministry of disaster management and refugee affairs said that all school-age Burundi refugee children have been enrolled in the Rwandan schools.

"Education is considered to be an essential component for the quality of life. These children deserve quality life; they are supposed to be in schools not in refugee camps," he noted.

Antoine Ruvebana, permanent secretary of Rwanda ministry of disaster management and refugee affairs.

Ruvebana stated that increased funding and cooperation is needed to ensure that all refugee children are able to access educational opportunities.

Refugees are entitled to inclusive and quality education as stated by the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.

According to UNICEF report, inadequate teaching and learning materials and the capacity of teachers remain key challenges.

The report further says that the total number of Burundian refugees in Rwanda has increased to 76,603 with about 48,450 of them living in Mahama camp, Bugesera district, Eastern province.

UNICEF says that cases of severe acute malnutrition among children aged 6-59 months living in the refugee camps continue to decline, with currently only 51 children are undergoing treatment.

"The number of unaccompanied children is gradually decreasing as 62 out of 813 unaccompanied children have been reunified with their families or relatives in the camp," reads the UN agency report.

According to the findings, 48 percent of Burundi Refugees in Rwanda are children.

The report says that UNICEF needs 3.4 million U.S dollars to cover the Burundi refugee crisis funding gap.

By Robert Muriisa.

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