A countrywide audit of secondary schools established that over 5,800 students in the upper section of high school had snubbed ordinary level (O’level) examinations, and will need to sit these S.3 exams before they are allowed to proceed.
Some of these students, according to Rwanda Education Board (Reb), will be among the 96,000 candidates who will sit the O’level exams that start today, together with the Advanced Level national exams.
Reb statistics show that 31,053 candidates will sit A’level papers.
The new development comes after government made it a requirement to have the lower level certificate in order to register for the advanced level examinations.
Emmanuel Muvunyi, the deputy director for examinations at Reb, told The New Times on Monday that some of the students affected were already in Senior Six, but could not specify the figure, nor could he state how many of the affected will take the O’level exams this year.
“It is a number of students who skipped O’level exam because, either they did not study Senior Three or studied it but just did not sit the national exams,” he said. “We cannot tell how many of these will do exams today but we have given them three years within which to do the exams and earn the ‘O-level certificate.”
After realising that some of the candidates who were applying to sit for A’level exams did not have O’level certificates, a countrywide inspection was carried out during which the 5,800 students were unearthed.
How it happens
According to school administrators, the situation emerged because most schools did not require ordinary level completion certificates for students wishing to be admitted to Senior Four. This created a room where some students skipped the Senior Three national exams.
Virginie Mukamugema, the director of GS ACEPER Gikongoro, a parents school in Nyamagabe District, said that until last year, a student needed just a Senior 3 report card to be admitted to Senior 4.
“We agreed with Reb that students will no longer be admitted for Advanced Level if they do not have certification that they sat for O’level exam which is taken in Senior Three,” she said.
This new requirement will particularly affect students in private learning centres, where students are coached ahead of secondary leaving exams.
“A number of my students were affected by this condition and obliged to go back to Senior Three which is a challenge because many are too old, said Asafi Nkurunziza, the director of Club Tour Institute, a coaching centre for private candidates in Kigali.
Meanwhile, to counter any malpractices, Reb has moved to serialise the examination forms of all the candidates after it was discovered that some private schools engaged in cheating. These schools allegedly photocopied the registration forms to be able to sneak in more candidates.
Last year, about 600 registered candidates were identified as having been involved in malpractices, after it was found that some private schools gave them registration forms of secondary students, yet they were from either private or coaching centres.
“This time around we made registration forms with serial numbers, so that we give every school a number of registration forms corresponding the number of known candidates,” he said.
Besides, on every registration form, students had to attach the report of the three years; Senior 4, 5 and 6.
Reb also carried out random physical checks in several private schools around the country, to find out whether their list of candidates corresponds the number of the registration forms.
Other serious measures during the examination itself were set to check possible malpractices, officials said.
The exams will end on November 8.
5,800 demoted from Advanced Level to sit Senior Three exams