Seventy-three students of Kigali Institute of Education, who had been discontinued, will now resume studies after the Ministry of Education came to their rescue.
The students were discontinued last year, one month after they were granted a scholarship by the Rwanda Education Board (REB), to study secretarial studies at KIE. According to a communiqué from the school to the students, REB released a second list comprising only 30 students out of 103 who had scored 50 marks out of 60, who were to be granted scholarship. The rest, according to the statement, would pay as private students or lose the chance to study at KIE.
The first list of 103 students had been sanctioned by Workforce Development Authority (WDA) on November 26, 2012 but forwarded to KIE by REB .
This meant the 73 students, most from poor backgrounds, had to leave the school premises.
According to Prof. Wenceslas Nzabarirwa, the vice rector in charge of academic affairs at KIE, the problem was not for the school to sort out, since they received students who were under REB.
REB cited financial constraints.
"We looked at our budget and found we could only afford to pay for 30 students," explained John Rutayisire, the director general of REB.
That is how the victims, who had scored 45 marks out of 60, approached the Ministry of Education to solve their fate.
On Friday, education minister Vincent Biruta met with the affected students and told them to go back to school since he was not aware of the issue. Minister Biruta said he would contact REB and KIE to try and sort out the mess.
On Monday, KIE got a memo from REB that students have to resume studies because the problem had been solved.
According to Rutayisire, there had been a problem of lack of communication.
"We have discussed the issue with WDA and realised we would have consulted each other before coming up with the list of 103," he said on Monday. "We started by granting the scholarships to those with higher scores and remained with more money so the rest can also be catered for."
Some of the affected students that The New Times spoke to said they were relieved the saga was over.
"I cannot count how many times we went to Reb, WDA, and Mineduc after we were told we cannot continue studies," said Claire Uwimana, one of the students. Her colleague, Valentine Uwimbabazi, said her parents cannot afford to pay for her tuition.
"Most of us sold our property in order to find scholastic materials and we had started worrying about returning home without a valid reason to convince our parents why we are not going to study," she said.