Esther Ishimwe is doing last minute revision at lunchtime on Monday before she sits for Social Studies, the second exam for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) which started Monday morning.
The 11-year-old candidate, from GS Remera Protestant Primary School in the Giporoso area, says the exam she had done in the morning was relatively easy and that she was ready for the next paper.
“The math exam reflected what we did in various assessments we had in class, the questions were mainly drawn from P4 and P5 books and I tried to do my best to answer all of them,” says Ishimwe.
“I am optimistic that the remaining exams will be easy as well and my dream is to join a good (secondary) boarding school and I know all will depend on my performance, I will do my best,” she added.
Ishimwe’s dream is to become a pilot.
Ishimwe is one of the 255,578 candidates who are sitting Primary Leaving Exams that are slated to end on Wednesday.
Candidates started with Mathematics paper yesterday morning and Social Studies in the afternoon.
Other exams they will sit for include Science and Elementary Technology, English, and Kinyarwanda, according to the time table.
Several other students who spoke to The New Times expressed optimism saying they had had enough time to prepare and that the first day was promising.
“Math was moderate, there were some questions which required serious thinking and were a bit hard given the time given, but it was not generally hard and I managed to answer all the questions,” said Josiane Akumuntu, another candidate from the same school.
Akumuntu’s dream is to become an expert in the tourism industry.
Launching the exams, Isaac Munyakazi, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, said the exams had begun across the country without a hitch and urged the students not to panic saying that this was a normal exercise to test candidates and promote those ready to move to the next level.
At the national level, Munyakazi launched the exams from Groupe Scolaire Kacyiru 1 in Kacyiru Sector, Gasabo District.
“This is the time for students to prove to parents and the nation that they did not invest in their education in vain, it is a time to show your ability to move from primary to secondary level,” he said.
He said the exams should also serve as an opportunity to test their level in delivering courses based on students’ performance and assess where they fell short and work harder.
Marking of the exams will start in December followed by grading and placement.
PLE and O’Level results will be released in the first week of January and A’Level results weeks later.
Exams for both O’Level and A’Level will start on November 20.
In Musanze District, a total of 10,369 pupils started their PLEs from 26 sites across the district.
At Groupe Scolaire Ruhehe, the exams started at 9am, after an hour of briefing of candidates by different officials.
“Do not be scared of the exam as it is not different from the tests you have been taking in class,” Jean Damascène Habyarimana, the Musanze Mayor, told the candidates.
Dr Alphonse Sebaganwa, the Head of Examinations, Selection and Assessment Department at Rwanda Education Board (REB), who was at the site, promised incident-free exams.
He said that in a move to minimise risks of cheating and other issues related to security, invigilators were trained to do their job accordingly and Rwanda National Police officers have been deployed at all the sites.