The New Times (Kigali)

13 January 2009

Rwanda: Examination Body to Display Results Online

Kigali — The Rwanda National Examinations Council (RNEC) has finalised plans to have examination results displayed online for easy access by both students and administrators.

The new development was revealed by the RNEC Executive Secretary, John Rutayisire during an interview with The New Times.

Rutayisire said that the examinations body has also reached a deal with MTN Rwanda, a mobile telecom company to avail examination results to students and school heads by Short Message Service (SMS).

The move by RNEC to make examination results available both online and by SMS is aimed at reducing the traffic of school administrators and students flocking the RNEC premises as soon as candidates' results are published.

"Usually School heads travel from all corners of the country to pick results and they end up spending a lot of money on accommodation and food on top of wasting valuable time. This time they will be able to access results online and by SMS feeds without necessarily travelling all the way to Kigali," said Rutayisire.

He added that RNEC will soon publicise the website portal where results will be displayed and the SMS procedure students, administrators and parents will follow to access results as soon as they are released.

Rutayisire said that the marking and verification of results for both Primary and Secondary school candidates is already finished and the only thing remaining is for the Ministry of Education to announce when the results will be released and when first and fourth-year high school students will begin School.

However he did not confirm the date when the results will be released but said that it will be in a few days time. O'Level and A'Level students are expected to join others who started the new term yesterday before the end of this month, as has been the case.

Publishing results online is one of the new reforms the examination body is undertaking to make its operations, just like other institutions in the country, ICT-based and in line with the East African Community.

Rutayisire said that among things, the body adopted a new grading system based on a programmed computer software, which automatically grades students after the scores are fed in.

He added that a new marking system known as the Conveyor Belt Marking System used in other East African Countries was used this time, after it was found to be more efficient and error-free compared the one previously used.

The new marking system involves a team of 4 or 5 teachers marking a script together, allowing each one of them to mark questions they are well conversant with, unlike in the past when a teacher was allowed to mark a bunch of scripts alone.

"The new marking system is team-based rather than individual based and leaves no room for errors. It is more accurate and transparent," said Rutayisire.

In the Six Module contract signed between MTN and RNEC, it was agreed that the telecommunications company runs and updates a database of all teachers in the country known as the Examination Coordination Management Information System (ECMIS) where data on all teachers in the country who do the marking exercise are kept.

Rutayisire said that the new system will help the body identify the best teachers in particular subjects depending on their experience in the field and their qualifications so that only the best can be deployed to do the marking.

Expectations are high across the country among the 131,000 students in Primary schools and the 51,000 O'level students who sat for examinations last year.

41,000 students who did their A'Level exams in 2008 are also waiting for their results to join different institutions of higher learning.

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