Govt releases new academic calendar with slight changes

Students sit O-Level examination at Remera Secondary School recently. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Ministry of Education has released a slightly revised school calendar for the 2019 academic year, which saw the holiday period shortened.

According to the ministry, the new calendar will help students stay in school longer in pursuit of the quality education the country aspires to achieve.

A communiqué signed by the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Issac Munyakazi on Tuesday, says that the school calendar will start in the second week of January and end early in November 2019. 

The calendar is for both primary and secondary schools.

The first term will start on January 14 and end on April 6 according to the communiqué.

Students will have a two-week break before they resume studies for the second term on April 22 which will go on until July 19.

Thereafter, students will rest for two weeks and schools will reopen for the third term from August 4 to November 8, according to the new school calendar.

The Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) are scheduled from November 4 to 6, while Ordinary and Advanced Exams will run for two weeks starting are from November 12 to November 26.

Speaking to the public broadcaster RBA, the minister said the new calendar was designed in the spirit of ensuring that students spend more time at school in the quest to increase the learning time.

He added that the changes will also help in transitioning to return to the old school calendar in the coming years, which will see the academic year begin in September and end in July.

The current calendar was adopted about 14 years back in a bid to align it to the East African Community (EAC) but it was later realised that the academic year stretches through the dry season which is not a favorable learning environment.

On various occasions, the Catholic Church has urged the government to review the schools calendar on the grounds that students find it hard to study while teachers also can’t teach well due to the heat.

The ministry of education has said that it was consulting other stakeholders to see whether the decision to start in the shortest period possible.

The decision will also require cabinet approval, according to officials.

Schools speak out

Enos Niyonteze, the head teacher for GS Kinteko in Gisagara District said his school was getting ready but was uncertain whether the new classroom block under construction at his school will have been completed.

“Preparations are ongoing and we are ready to receive students, what we are doing is cleaning, finalizing the timetable and placement of students, we are also working on tender to procure all needed materials,” he said.

“The issue however is that the school is yet to have the new classrooms completed because they still lack materials to be completed and we urge the government to avail money to buy the remaining materials mainly roofing and paint,” he added.

He noted that when those four classrooms are complete, the school will be able to able to mimnimise congestion in the classroom and dispense lessons in single shift in P5 and P6 unlike currently when they teach in double shifts.

Officials from Rwanda Education Board (REB) have recently said that the government is considering the review the calendar but the revision will be done in a way that does not affect the curriculum implementation.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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