As term one for Senior One and Four opens, over 800 pupils who sat Primary Leaving Exams and 400 students who completed their Ordinary level last year, are stranded following anomalies in their school placements.
Jean Paul Nsabimana from Runda sector, Kamonyi district and colleagues from other sectors yesterday camped at Rwanda Education Board (REB) to establish why they were not posted to their new schools.
“We were told that our letters ended up in other sectors. I am here to find out what exactly happened,” said the former student of Marie Reine Adeilaid in Kamonyi district who is supposed to join Senior Four.
After the placement of students that took place between February 22 and February 25, district education officers (DEOs) were given the letters meant for the students.
Every student was supposed to pick his or her letter from their sector of origin and not their previous school as it used to be in the past.
The REB deputy director general in charge of examinations and accreditation, Emmanuel Muvunyi, said the affected students registered wrong addresses.
“Some students registered under a wrong residential addresses so when we sent the letters to the sector level indicating the schools they (students) should go to, they were not able to receive them,” he said.
Muvunyi explained that some students registered under one sector of origin while they belonged to another. Others, he added, registered under sectors which do not exist.
He said the letters that did not reach the recipients were returned to REB where affected students will pick them after revealing their real address.
Muvunyi also noted that some students used different names on the registration forms and examination papers.
“Some did it by mistake, while others may have done it intentionally for cheating purposes,” Muvunyi added.
Who is to blame?
Muvunyi explained that different scenarios have led to these irregularities.
“We used to send the letters to the schools but realised that we were inconveniencing students who had to travel long distances just to pick the placement letters. So we changed the policy this year,” Muvunyi noted.
He also blamed the school directors who endorse forms with inaccurate information.
“I cannot blame only the students. The directors should guide the students throughout the enrolment exercise,” said Petronille Musabyingabire, the Ngororero district education officer.
The official admitted that some students mistakenly write wrong addresses, but added that schools should know the real addresses of their students to avoid such confusion.
Musabyingabire said the students usually use the school addresses because that is where they spend most of their time.
She said during her time as a student, parents used to help their children fill out the forms. This, she said, used to avert potential errors.
Jean Damascene Ndagijimana, the director of Lycée de Rusatira in Huye district, said they always help students provide accurate information during enrolment, but “it’s unfortunate that these irregularities were reported.”
He said much as he supports the idea of sending letters to the sector level, it denies schools the right to recover arrears from school fees defaulters.
“Some students leave school without paying us. We used to withhold their placement letters until they paid up but with this new arrangement, we shall never recover our money,” he said.
Muvunyi said students have until February 10 to clear the identification challenges and to report to their schools.