Half-fearful students are taking to the road to their former schools to check their performance, as Senior Six results were announced Saturday. A brief analysis has indicated that performance declined slightly this year, from an average of 74 percent last year to 71 percent. The Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) executive secretary John Rutayisire attributed the decline in performance to the entire education system which is under reform to conform to competitive education.
More exciting though, is that upcountry schools performed better than their city counterparts.
This is good news, and it shows that this government has tried its best to level the playing field. It shows that all schools have been equipped in equal measure in terms of classrooms, teachers, scholastic materials and other necessities. It is this fact that can make rural schools equal city schools in academic performance; otherwise there would be a big tilt in favour of urban schools, as their proximity to financial centres also make them access better services.
Good rural school performance should not be taken for granted. It is a very healthy development for Rwanda not to afford better performance to be monopolized by schools in urban areas alone. One of the advantages it has is that development is spread throughout the country, with students going to national institutions of higher learning coming from all over Rwanda, and not a select few posh secondary schools in towns.
Furthermore, it reflects that in Rwanda the son or daughter of a poor peasant can still make the grade to such institutions through sheer dint of hard work. Elsewhere, it is only children of wealthy parents who can afford to get good grades, by reason of their attending such good schools that can afford to have good laboratories etc, that make them pass well. But if such good laboratories, teachers and textbooks are spread throughout the country, every child gets a fair shot at rising through the education ladder.
Another reason we should celebrate good rural schools performance is that this factor alone, of having good schools everywhere in the country and not only in the towns, will cut down rural-urban migration.
Everyone knows that the search for better social services is one of the major reasons people flock towns, where they expect to access better healthcare, education services, and the utilities – water and electricity.
The education ministry should pursue this policy of equal distribution of resources in the whole of the country, for equal development.