Rwanda Education Board’s decision to produce academic certificates for secondary school graduates locally has reduced production cost and significantly trimmed the time it takes students to receive their certificates, according to officials.
Dr Irene Ndayambaje, the Director General of REB, said that they started producing the certificates domestically last year, effectively saving Rwf100 million.
The printing, which was previously carried out in the UK, is currently done by REB itself.
Ndayambaje disclosed that REB spent over Rwf47 million on printing and issuing certificates to students who completed the secondary and teacher training studies in 2018.
“This money could have been spent abroad,” he added, noting that the price for producing one certificate has reduced significantly.
On average, REB says, producing one certificate now costs Rwf1, 200 compared to Rwf2, 000 when the certificates previously.
This is the second time REB is producing academic certificates domestically.
Besides being cost effective, the move has significantly reduced the period it takes for students to receive their certificates after the publication of their national examination results.
Whereas in the past students used to wait for between 3-4 years before receiving their certificates, currently the wait is just 38 days after the release of results.
The delays used to limit the students’ ability to look for jobs as well as apply for university scholarships.
“Some (students) could even take eight years without receiving their certificates because when a certificate could come out with errors it had to be returned abroad and then it would take between three and five years to be returned,” he said.
Some combined 41,123 secondary school students and teacher trainings college graduates who completed school in 2018 will receive their certificates between April 3 and 25, 2019, according to REB.
Head teachers from schools in the City of Kigali started collecting the certificates on April 3, the Northern Province is scheduled to pick theirs on April 18, Western Province April 22 and Southern Province April 25.
Ndayambaje dismissed concerns that locally produced certificates could be short on quality and security, exposing them to potential counterfeiting.
“There are external and internal security features on the certificates. In terms of design there is a code on the back that can be read by a software to detect if they are fake or not,” he said, adding that; “An individual can also download an application that help to ascertain the authenticity of the certificate.”