SFB locks out 230 students from graduating this year

  • By Sam Nkurunziza
  • March 01, 2012

EDUCATION :Stalemate over supplementary examinations boils over

About 230 fourth-year students at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), one of the most respected tertiary institutions in Rwanda, face the risk of not graduating in June this year if they are not allowed to sit their supplementary examinations.

This means that almost half of the 500 students leaving the institution at the end of this academic year, will have to stay at the university for one more year, unless a way can be found out of the stalemate.

And the students have another reason to worry; their plea, according to the students’ guild, to be given a chance to sit for the supplementary examinations, has been rejected by the school administration.

Traditionally, university students in Commonwealth countries are allowed to re-sit units they have failed in the end of year examinations.

“We petitioned the administration but the Vice-Rector in charge of academics says that their policy prohibits supplementary examinations,” said Guild president Steven Nankunda.

The affected students (mainly from the two Departments of Finance and Accounting) will have to wait for another year before they graduate from the university.

Students who talked to The New Times, yesterday, complained that those who fail examinations at the SFB are not allowed to sit supplementary exams, thus raising the number of those unable to graduate.

“Normally, university standards stipulate that students are allowed to re-sit examinations as a way of supplementing academic performance. It is not the case here,” Fred Rwiririza, the leader of fourth year students said.

He said it was unfair that the students are required to pay Rwf 80,000 in order to retake one examination even after being forced to repeat the class.

Rwiririza also claimed that facilities at the institution were stretched, particularly the library and computer laboratory.

Other students complained that lecturers at times refuse to assist them complete their studies.

“We have students who do a lot of work on their project proposals because some supervisors do not respond to their queries. Sometimes they even refuse to pick up calls from students,” claimed Livingstone Byakatonda, one of the affected students from the Department of Finance. 

When contacted, for comment, the Vice Rector of the university, Dr Papius Musafiri, confirmed that some students will not graduate this year, but added that the final list of those not graduating was yet to be released.

“How can they graduate if they still have some dues from the previous semesters? The true number shall be known at the end of this semester because there are some remaining courses to cover,” he said.

He said that the objective of the graduation should not be the number of graduates, but the quality of students that the institution is putting on the labour market.

Dr Musafiri’s views were echoed by Professor Geoffrey Rugege, the Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education. He backed the SFB for its “tough stand”.

“Institutions of higher learning have the full freedom and autonomy to change their academic regulations to adopt what they consider the best practices,” he said.

Rugege, however, said that all academic regulations are under review with the aim of making all universities adopt uniform standards by September this year.

Unlike the SFB, other universities in Rwanda are yet to abolish supplementary examinations.

“Its part and parcel of our regulations that students should be given another chance once they fail an examination,” said Professor Silas Lwakabamba, the Rector of the National University of Rwanda.

Rwanda has more than 10 universities as demand for higher education rises sharply, sending about 3,000 graduates every year to the job market.

Contact email: sam.nkurunziza[at]


It is not only SFB that doesn't allow supplementary exams.The AUCA at Masoro has also the same policy.It is for quality and not quantity. Why are you always reporting unfairly about SFB only?

07:08:20 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Byagatonda Geoffrey

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I think these students are going to be victimized over false pretexts from SFB authorities. This issue should be addressed from its root causes. I understand that SFB has adopted regulations which penalize students rather than helping them to acquire enough skills.It is a matter of getting money rather than promoting the quality of education they offer, some students have claimed. Please TNT follow this issue up

09:34:09 Thursday 01st, March 2012 kigali - Paul

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Mr.Sam Nkurunziza and the readers,the students who repeat the courses have to pay 55,000Frw per course not 80,000Frw as written in the Article.Also the number of those who are going to repeat the year will increase or remain constant but can't reduce unless they are allowed to sit for supplementary exams because there are some other courses to cover.So,as said by Vice Rector Academic,the final list is not yet released.But meanwhile,the number of those students is not 230 as written in the Article,it is in the 280's.Thank you.

11:02:12 Thursday 01st, March 2012 SFB - Fred Rwiririza

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I agree with Dr.Musafiri, Universities or other institutions of higher learning should not be factories that churn out half baked young people with high expectation and rock bottom abilities. I have read a few of the research proposals of the would be graduands, read their dissertation, interviewed many others for jobs, had the agony of reading poorly written application letters and Resumes and I think we are doing a disservice to this country if this what we are putting in the job market. We need to rethink our education strategy, refocus on quality of output in terms of what people really learn, acquire knowledge and are able to apply it. We also need to think seriously about what our desired outcome is for higher education, what do we really want to achieve? If we don't think about this now, then our hope of becoming a knowledge based economy will be a pipe dream.

11:57:51 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Emmanuel Murangira

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I think its very unfair,students should be given another chance to re-write their examination,it beats my understanding as to why a student who fails one examination paper,sometimes by a single mark,should spend one more year in school,that's why I support the honourable Rector of NUR, students should be given another chance.I believe that forcing a student to repeat a year is not necessarily adding quality to their eduction,its instead wasting their time and money!

12:00:55 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Huye - Kabukumba Enock

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I think that as SFB tries so hard to echo quality, they should remember it can't be achieved over night. quality will also come as a result of a lot of factors like good lecturers who we do not have, good facilities like libraries research centers which do not exist at the university.

13:32:45 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Richard Manzi

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The Rwandan education policy makers should look at this issue of supplementary exams, i do not think it is fair to abolish supplementary exams at the university level and allow them to be done at secondary level. Students are used of supplementary examinations  Please,concerned parties it should start with secondary schools.

16:35:13 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Samuel

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This is dangerous. If you check history,you will realise there are certain policy makers who were doing re-sits during their University later deny their siblings the same chance. This is also dangerous as it could promote corruption to astronomic proportions. If a girl/woman felt not able to make it first time they become too vulnerable to some unscrupulous teachers and guys might try to supplement their pass mark with cash.

16:38:08 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kacyiru - Maridadi Kennedy

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Its so sad that sfb leaders have completely failed to accept defeat,i can't understand what quality they are talking about, forexample very many students in finance failed financial analysis of which problem is not theirs but administration,we are surely hurt and dumbfounded,great we have leaders who are only good at impressing media but can't make rational decisions

16:45:21 Thursday 01st, March 2012 kigali - Emmanuel

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when we talk of quality students, we have to first look those students are trained from in terms facilities and qualiteness of the staff who teach them.The question is,are all those available at SFB for the SFB management to implement that strategy of removing supplementaries to produce that quality students? I think it is the work of the concerned parties to intervene and solve the problem accordingly. If not Rwandan students are continuing to be the victims of the stuation over there, of which i think it is not building "Ireme ry'uburezi.

17:27:46 Thursday 01st, March 2012 kigali - Julius

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The notorious Papias has become an academic and semi god in SFB during the whole of his stay there but worse of it is that they make pay a full term to some of their students they have dismissed frm SFB. Isn't that theft, really. Go and check you will discover such a swindle. And this is because of that MUSAFIRI Papias

17:48:30 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Minos Tite

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@ Murangira Emmanuel,had you known the situation that is in SFB,you could not have said the above.SFB is in a serious FINANCIAL CRISIS to the extent that they need to get money by charging 55,000Frw per repeat course.So,they try by all means to increase the number of those to repeat hence making them fail by all means.Besides that,there no facilities like microphones,projectors,classrooms are small compared to the number of students,lecturers are expelled every now and then on no reasons,they are implementing Module System and yet they don't know it themselves(There are only 2 Lecturers only who were trained how this system works), mention but a few.In a nutshell,the situation at SFB is terrible,concerned organs should intervene.

20:14:32 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Rwangabwoba

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For sure SFB is in a terrible situation let's leave alone the issue of supplementaries and look around with in SFB environment that is its staff for example,in the convenor's office there are like 5 people performing a simple task and yet you find that still there is no work done.Secondly,it's the career center how can a student who is still in school run this career center? and what advice do you think will be given to the students by this fellow student? Another thing is about how the courses are offered here in SFB,there is a course in Finance called Computer Application in Finance it's a practical course but we did it theoretically yet the computers were available just a mere issue of power installation made us to do it theoretically,we complained to the management there was no reaction on this.Please people concerned do what you can other wise what you are terming as quality Education can turn into any thing else.

20:41:10 Thursday 01st, March 2012 KIGALI - Mug EMMA

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Me,I thank SFB students for showing much of respect to their leaders (the school management)because what they face on every day basis is beyond understanding.They are treated as Nursery school children.For sure,something should be done by higher level authorities.

21:17:09 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kimihurura - Gaudiose

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So bad,fellow readers,when you look @ the number of students who are going out of SFB to other institutions either expelled or being tired of harsh conditions and then they decide to go,that is when you will realize how SFB is treating its students badly.

21:23:54 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Karakire

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Oh!but SFB!why always SFB?!each and every year?!In 2010,there were about 200 students expelled immediately after the coming of this Dr.Papius at SFB.Last year,others were expelled and also a student was denied his rights of having the marks of which he worked for went to stay in a tree until the police and journalists came.This year,look,over 230 in fourth year only are going to repeat.This means,they are many who are going to repeat when we consider all the years i.e 1st,2nd,3rd and 4th years.Again,why always SFB?!Concerned authorities,please take action.Thank you.

21:47:25 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Muhanga - Jackline

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Murangira Emmanuel thanks for your concern about the quality of students to be availed for the labour market,but i don't think this applies to sfb,if you keenly followed this you would discover that Dr.Msafiri is not doing this for quality but for bussiness,i mean to retain students so that they may Get money,u cannot i magine if leaders think that retaining students will ensure quality and yet many lecturers that teach many are not well qualified,i think quality lecturers,quality facilities like library and others facilities would ensure this,but not removing saps

23:20:10 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Emmy

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for sure vice Rector papius some times he do things which is out of education most student from finance failed not b'se are weak in the course bt due to missunderstanding bwt lectuer

23:21:47 Thursday 01st, March 2012 kanombe - mutesi jackie

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I thank our VRAC for his attempts to wish that students would be suitable for labour market,but i think he should revise his strategy in achieving this,many students who fail in sfb are as aresult of administration inneffeciences,if you look at finance students who failed it was as a result of teacher's mistakes ,this is eviidenced in even the pass marks of those who passed,none has above 60%,now is this passing if u want to achieve quality?i this this is the school's strategy to make money by removing saps and retain many students,its very sad

23:29:47 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Jack

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I think the issue here is that SFB Management is looking solution to quality education on wrong way, penalizing students doesn't solve any problem of quality education, to tell you most of those students who failed never did supplementary exams since their year one, i think the institution should focus on the services its providing starting with infrastructures, lecturers, studying conditions then come back to students!! But if they only focus on students as a solution to quality education, i tell you, they won't reach anywhere and they wont achieve the quality there are talking of

23:42:09 Thursday 01st, March 2012 Kigali - Anonymous

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You can know more about SFB when you go there.Poor management;poor infrastructures........Change is needed for sure.

11:34:15 Friday 02nd, March 2012 Gatsata - Bwoli

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I don't even believe this is happening and students are helpless knowing that no one can help them!!!!!i wish his Excellency would know this whole sfb phenomenon,i have met people in life but Dr.Msafiri is just a mystery y ,how would u go on the media to lie talking of removing sap as ameans of ensuring quality when in actual sense it is not, not even close to that,look at students who have been retained,many have never even done a sap in their four years,others their cumulative average shows that they qualify for distinction,just the quarrel you picked with Nzamaru Ambrose who set a paper for CPA that we never studied and thus resulting into such unbelievable failures,first understand quality,if it is a quality way of getting money from students then that i can understand,its very sad that even if we talk we can't be helped,God should Judge such leaders

12:10:50 Friday 02nd, March 2012 kigali - Kamana

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Everything has an end.There will be a time when poor management of SFB will end.Dear God, we believe you will make it.

15:38:45 Tuesday 06th, March 2012 Kigali - Fanny

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papias malimba will never be a real leader i see it when i look into his eyes,i simply read his philosophy whn i look into his eyes!

00:11:21 Thursday 08th, March 2012 kgl - rich

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