12 November 2012

Rwanda: 77 KIST Students Suspended Over Late Registration

The Kigali Institute of Science and Technology administration has suspended 77 students after they reportedly missed the registration deadline for 2012/13 academic year.

The institution had set October 5, 2012 as the deadline for registration for the 2012/2013 academic year.

Affected students will now have to resume their studies in the next academic year.

The Rector, Dr Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya said on Friday that the decision was reached after the students failed to register despite extending the deadline by the stipulated four weeks.

She said the decision was in line with academic regulations that ensure that no student is allowed to register after the fourth week of commencement of lectures.

All the affected students who spoke to The New Times preferred anonymity.

They gave varying reasons for late registration, including lack of tuition fees and late release of examination results, for those who had supplementary exams, because students cannot register if the results are not yet out.

A second year electronics student, who is among those affected, said the university administration violated academic regulations, which stipulate a fine for late registration.

Article 49 of undergraduate academic regulations found on the institution's website reads; "registration will not be allowed outside the registration period, unless in very exceptional circumstances and only through consultation with the director of academic affairs and the vice-rector academics.

"In such cases there shall be a mandatory penalty amounting to 50% of the registration fee. No student shall be allowed to register after commencement of lectures."

The affected student thus said; "No article of the academic regulations provides the punishment of suspension. KIST violated the regulations in suspending the students," he told The New Times.

Other students who were interviewed said the registration period for students who sat supplementary exams and the extension to October 5 were not communicated to them.

Asked why her administration did not post an announcement for the deadline of October 5, Mujawamariya said the regulations were clear.

She added that there is no need to announce this as KIST reckoned the students knew the regulation to extend the registration period by a maximum four weeks.

The announcement made on October 15, 2012 to proclaim the closure of the registration, of which The New Times has a copy stated: "The registration is closed. Students who failed to register are advised to postpone studies. Those with specific problems should address them to KIST Students Association and Director of student's services"

Mujawamariya said this announcement was posted after the administration noticed that students were still proceeding with the registration process after the elapse of the extended deadline of October 5.

A second year biology student said no student ought to be blamed for negligence as they were using the one month period to complete the registration process but were thwarted by the decision to lock them out.

Among those suspended, only 44 have complained and pursued the case with the Dean of Students. Mujawamariya said she was unaware about the fate of others, saying they may have decided to quit their studies.

The students who have lodged complaints are awaiting the institution's administration to reverse its decision to allow them back, which according to the Rector appears far-fetched.

"Some lectures have ended. Those students haven't attended the lectures as they were not allowed to before they completed the registration process. And students who fail to attain the 85 percent attendance benchmark are not allowed to do continuous assessments and final exams," she said.

"Even if they came back, it would be difficult for them to be promoted."

When contacted, Andrew Murwanashyaka, the president of the students body, KISTAS, said the suspended students did not write to KISTAS to seek their help but they did write to the Senate.

"The advocacy was done to the KIST administration but in vain...we did everything possible in our capacity, the fact is, the university was justified in its decision backed by the regulations," he said.

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