24 February 2013

Rwanda: Government Should Address the Private Candidates Dilemma


Rwanda Education Board has withheld results of more than 500 private candidates who sat their Advanced Level examinations in 2012, citing registration irregularities and cheating.

Many students and parents who were affected are at pains over what happened because this implies that all affected students will not join tertiary institutions unless they repeat senior six. The ministry says it does not recognise these schools and has suspended their operations.

The board says the students were irregularly registered in formal schools as full time students.

The existence of private coaching schools is well documented.

However, it is very unfair that the students are caught in this mess, which they are not responsible for.

Why did the examination council allow the students to sit the exams only for their results to be cancelled? It means they sat the exams when the board already knew about their registration irregularities.

Private coaching schools, cropped up at a time when many school dropouts who wanted to go back to school could not meet the minimum admission requirements in the formal schools from the late 1990s.

Many teachers in government schools also teach in these private schools, while others have abandoned public schools to set up their own private centres.

The Ministry of Education must work out a plan aimed at avoiding such incidents in the future. Innocent students should not suffer the consequences of actions they have nothing to do with.

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