RNEC defends high cut-off points for technical students

KIGALI - The Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) John Rutayisire has defended the minimum university cut-off point of 7.0 for students in professional secondary schools.
Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) John Rutayisire
Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) John Rutayisire

KIGALI - The Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) John Rutayisire has defended the minimum university cut-off point of 7.0 for students in professional secondary schools.

He said yesterday that such students complete Senior Six with enough skills to enable them immediately start working even before going to the university.

Currently, the cut-off point for technical, agriculture and tailoring students is fixed at 7.0 while those for other students vary according to each year’s performance, and are much lower.

For instance, students offering Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry with points ranging between 2.2 and 3, and 5.0 for those offering human sciences, often land government education loans.

“There are professional reasons; it depends on the country’s philosophy of national development,” Rutayisire said.

Students and teachers of Ecole Technique Officiel (ETO) Muhima this week complained about what they called “unfairness” in the university admission policy, saying that they have already requested that their cut-off point be revised downwards to accord them equal opportunities as their counterparts in other options.

However, Rutayisire said that by the time technical, agriculture and tailoring students complete their Senior Six, they already have the relevant skills that can make them competitive on the job market. “Their lessons are more practical compared to others’,” he said.

The examinations chief further said that a student in technical education does not spend a lot of time studying a particular subject compared to those in the mainstream education system.

He said that there are two types of curricula; one being academic subjects where students spend a lot of time studying various subjects, and the other, the professional or technical curriculum, for technical students.

 “Though they might be studying similar subjects such as Mathematics, Physics and Biology, the length of time they (technical students) take is not comparable to that spent by their counterparts.

That’s why we prepare them for professional development during which they first work at least for two years (after their Senior Six) and then go for further studies which is not the case with direct entrants,” Rutayisire explained.

But ETO Muhima, which emerged the best school in Kigali City in the just-released Senior Six examination results, want the cut-off point for government-sponsored university technical students scheme reduced from 7.0 to at least 5.0.

Françoise Gahama Sibomana, the Director of Studies at the Kigali-based technical school, said this week that since students are equal, they should be given equal education opportunities.

There are six technical schools (ecole techniques officials) countrywide.

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