Primary Leaving Examinations countrywide yesterday started smoothly, with candidates sitting the Mathematics and Social Studies papers.
The Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu officiated at the start of the exams at GS Gatagara in Rwamagana District, where he opened the two first envelops of the question papers for Rwamagana A and Groupe Scolaire Gatagara examination centres.
At Gatagara School, 15 blind students sat the national exams that were transcribed in Braille by their teachers.
Emmanuel Ntakirutimana, the dean of teachers at the school said they get question papers a few hours to the exams to enable them translate them into Braille.
“Preparation of the exams for the blind is difficult; the government tries to help us but the materials we have do not meet minimum standards,” he said.
“Material for our students is really difficult to find and students learn from only the teacher.”
Harebamungu said government is aware of their problem and would address it in due course.
He added that the special machine used to type their national exams is now available and arrangements are underway to equip schools of students with special needs with the necessary materials.
Gatagara school has primary and secondary levels with 217 visually impaired students.
Six pupils with visual impairment also sat the exams at another centre for the blind in Kibeho, Nyaruguru District in Southern Province.
In Rwamagana A, where 498 candidates from eight schools sat the exams, Harebamungu asked the candidates to feel confident, saying the examinations were prepared following the curriculua.
“There is nothing strange,” he said. He cautioned the candidates against cheating.
Exams continue today with 174,874 candidates expected to sit Science and Elementary Technology, English and Kinyarwanda papers. About 51 per cent of the candates are female.
At centres visited by The New Times, yesterday exams started on time with candidates expressing optimism.
Speaking after the morning paper, candidates at Kigali Parents School said they were happy with the mathematics exam which they said was easy compared to what they expected.
In Musanze District, pupils said three hours to write for Mathematics exam was enough.
Fiston Tumukunde, 12, from Gasanze Primary School said the exam was easy except section C which seemed to be a bit complicated.
“I was not afraid of exams, I answered at my own pace and finished in time. I hope to pass the remaining exams,” said Tumukunde.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Muvunyi, the deputy director general of Rwanda Education Board in charge of examinations told Izuba Rirashe, The New Times sister newspaper, that no school director should supervise exams at their own school.
All subjects in the Primary Leaving Examinations have equal time of two hours from 9am to 11am in the morning and from 2pm to 4pm.
Additional reporting by Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti and Joel Gatanazi.
Smooth start for Primary Leaving Exams