Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has said that 69 TVET schools have been suspended due to poor quality standards.
The closure follows an audit that was carried out on all 341 polytechnics and TVET schools across the country in October and November last year.
The audit aimed at re-accrediting existing TVET centres, accrediting new TVET schools, courses and programmes, categorising TVET schools so as to encourage quality improvement as well as providing a baseline to develop quality assurance plans, according to Solange Uwamahoro, the Director of Qualification, Licensing & Accreditation Unit at WDA.
She said seven of the schools will not be allowed to operate this academic year while the rest have been given two weeks to clean up before re-opening.
"No school will re-open without our accreditation. There are 62 commitment forms for the 62 schools to fill so that they pledge how they are committed to correct the gaps in quality. If they do not correct, they will remain closed. We are ready to relocate students from these closed schools to other schools in conjunction with the district directors of education," she said.
The audit was carried out based on different measurement standards.
"We found out that some schools have no workshops for practicals, there is lack of hygiene, poor infrastructures of washrooms, lack of sufficient smart and learning and teaching materials, lack of quality school infrastructures, lack of playgrounds, lack of consumables.
"They also lack cooperation framework with other institutions to facilitate students to get internships, among others, she said.
The seven TVET schools that were found wanting the most in TVET quality include Solidarity Academy in Nyarugenge, Karongi TVET School in Karongi, Nyarugunga TVET School in Kicukiro, College Baptiste de Ngarama in Gatsibo, Kigali TVET school in Gasabo, Kigali International College in Gasabo and Horizon Technical School in Nyarugenge District.
She explained that there are some schools that received high scores - over 80 per cent - but those which were suspended scored under 50 per cent.
Labour market demand
The testing standards also include accountability and transparency, curriculum that gives room for technical and vocational skills and that matches the labour market demand.
"The schools must prepare students to become job creators and, therefore, entrepreneurship courses must be included in the curriculum. Some schools were closed because they do not pay teacher's salaries on time. This does not motivate teachers. We also found some schools with undisciplined teachers," she said.
Herman Nteziryayo, the Manager of College Baptiste de Ngaramata, said: "We teach accountancy, computer science and tourism but some equipment are still few. The buildings were also not enough. We are trying to improve the gaps in quality as the audit has shown. We are building a dormitory that can accommodate over 400 students. We request WDA to come and assess our progress so that we open school on time," he said.
Father Robert Iryumugabe, the Head of Rwaza TVET School in Musanze District, said: "The equipment is not enough but we keep improving since education always needs improvement. However, we wish we could be consulted before the academic year starts so that we take time to fixthe gaps."
He added that the closure could cause conflict between students and schools since some had already registered for this academic year.
"We had 12 students registered for this academic year and it will be a challenge when they realise they will not start on January 14, the starting date for the next academic year," he said.