Yesterday, the first batch of students who will now study under the 9-year Basic Education Programme joined their respective secondary schools across the country.
The programme whose implementation started this academic year was introduced by government mainly to trim the rate of secondary school drop outs; as they will now attend the first part of their secondary studies at the schools where they completed primary education.
The first batch which consists of pupils who completed Primary Six in 2008 have joined Senior One under this programme that combines the 6 years of Primary and the 3 years of O’Level.
Out of the 96,438 who passed the 2008 Primary Leaving Examination’s, 20.973 pupils were selected to join different government aided schools, while at O’Level, 16.173 of the 38, 527 who passed in 2008 were selected to join S.4.
This was revealed by the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC), John Rutayisire.
According to Rutayisire, those selected were students who attained at least a minimum of Grade Four, following a new grading system used this year which is similar to the one used in most countries in the East African Community (EAC).
He however clarified that it does not mean that those who were not admitted to join S.1 in the selection exercise will not be able to enter secondary schools or would only join private schools as it had earlier been perceived.
Rutayisire said that the selection process could have left out many students who passed, with them going ahead to apply in different schools of their choices, only those who scored outside Grade Four were considered un-graded.
“Those who were not graded in the national selection process that ended last week were selected in their respective districts and admitted in day schools which are supposed to be in a range of not more that four Kilometres from their homes,” explained Rutayisire.
This clears worries of some of the pupils who were not picked in the selection exercise of having to repeat or failure to get schools to join, as it had earlier been feared.
As earlier explained by the Minister of state for Primary and Secondary Education Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, all pupils who sat PLE in 2008, including those in Grade Four and above have been promoted to S.1 in a bid to allow a smooth transition into the 9 year Basic Education plan.
He however explained that under the new plan, such students considered to have not performed up to the required standards would be enrolled in schools within their home district and within the proximity of their homes, for closer monitoring and attention by both teachers and parents.
Mutsindashyaka also said that there’s no such thing as ‘failing’, adding that the ministry has put new system in place to ensure that all children’s needs and abilities are fully attended to in order to identify the different potentials and capacities they have and help them develop them.
Among other things, Cumulative Grade points from the past scores will be used to determine the performance of pupils during the 9 year Basic Education plan, while at A’Level, each student will be required dedicate many hours of study to the subjects they performed best at O’Level (Core Subjects) and eventually study the same at University.
A total of 130,272 students sat PLE in 2008 while 48,960 sat for O’ Level exams in the same year.