The National Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) started yesterday, with the number of candidates sitting this academic year 2015/16 up by 16 per cent compared to last year.
The State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, while launching the national exams at GS Sainte Famille in Kigali, yesterday, said the number of candidates increased from 168,290 in 2015 to 194,679.
Whereas 90,028 girls sat PLE in 2015, the figure has increased to 101,364 this academic year, with boys up to 93,315 from the 78,262 are in 2015.
Minister Munyakazi attributed the increase to the Government's good policy that encourages parents to send their children to school.
"Sustained awareness made parents understand that it's their responsibility to ensure the education of their children. Besides, we have an education environment which has helped in increasing retention rate in school," the minister said.
Fr Ildephonse Uwimana, in-charge of education at Sainte Famille Parish, said they ensure that students are given quality education which is achieved through the responsibility of both teachers and students, noting that they were ready for the exams.
"They are thirsty to develop their country. We have to help our students to get education opportunities that will help them in their future," he said.
Primary Leaving Examinations end tomorrow and are being done at 827 examination centres countrywide compared to 801 in 2015.
The Ministry of Education has pledged sustained efforts to ensure quality education, but cautioned candidates at all levels against examination malpractices, which it said, compromise education quality and competence.
There was a rise in examination malpractices last year, according to statistics from Rwanda Education Board (REB), with 455 cases compared to 88 in 2014.
For Ordinary Level examinations, the cases more than doubled from 93 in 2014 to 208 in 2015.
Yet, there was a positive trend in curbing examination malpractices in 2014 compared to 2013.
Minister Munyakazi said the preparation and supervision of exams is now being done effectively such that it is very difficult for examination practices to occur.
"Malpractices are not acceptable, and it is punishable. But, we know that they have been trained, they have been told about the rules and regulations, including the dos and don'ts," he said.
Candidates express readiness
"We are not afraid of exams. Through partnership with our teachers and parents, we were prepared for the exams and are ready to pass without a problem," said Ange Umubyeyi, of Groupe Scolaire Sainte Famille.
Thierry Byiringiro, another candidate, said though fear for exams is obvious, he was ready to succeed.
Meanwhile Ordinary Secondary level exams will start on November 9 and conclude on November 16, while Advanced Level (theory and practical) exams will begin on November 9 and end November 18.