Stakeholders in the education sector from Eastern Province gathered at the provincial headquarters in Rwamagana on Friday to chart ways of avoiding reverting into the embarrassing tag of having the most cases of examinations malpractices.
Officials hope that the improvement made in last year’s examinations should be the benchmark for candidates and schools to steer clear of exam malpractice so that the district does not degenerate to the years 2012 and 2013 when it was the worst hit.
After the embarrassment of registering the worst cases of examination malpractices in 2012 and 2013, schools in the province emerged without any serious cases last year.
The Friday meeting was part of the preparations for the forthcoming national exams, which start tomorrow.
A total of 297,352 candidates are slated to sit for Primary Leaving, O-Level and A-Level national examinations this month.
The education stakeholders agreed to collaborate effectively to curb examination malpractices at all levels.
The stakeholders, who included Governor Odette Uwamariya, vice mayors in charge of social affairs, head teachers, exam supervisors and invigilators and ministry of education officials, among others, agreed on the need to find a lasting solution to malpractice.
According to the organisers, the aim of the discussions was to change the mindset of students and teachers from engaging in examination malpractice by bringing trustworthy persons from the education sector to motivate them on success.
Brother Camille Rudasingwa, the head teacher of St. Aloys Secondary School, said there is need to adequately prepare students for exams because when they are well prepared, there will be no need to indulge in examination malpractice.
“We encourage teaching and mentoring, so any of our teachers found aiding examination crimes is dealt with accordinly. Examination malpractice is like a disease that can eat deep into every side of our educational system, and, if not checked, affects the quality of students,” he said.
‘Get serious with studies’
Erik Kanamugire, a head teacher of Nyamata School, like his counterpart Etienne Ngirinshuti of Rusumo High School, urged teachers to help students to be serious with their studies.
“Students should be motivated so as to avoid being carried away by things happening around them. They must believe in themselves, have a sense of purpose and faith in achieving whichever goal they have set for themselves,” Kanamugire said.
“It is unfortunate that some supervisors help candidates cheat. Such people shouldn’t be allowed anymore to feature on the list of supervisors,” the teachers said.
Jean Baptiste Kayiranga, the head teacher of Nyagatare Secondary School, said a holistic approach was needed to cater for the needs of the candidates.
“We must help the students get lunch at school, it should also be understood that the exam period is special, but not extraordinary. Some schools treat it with highest level of tension in the name of curbing malpractice. This creates fear in candidates. So, as we try to check the vice, we should keep balance to allow conducive atmosphere,” he said.
Governor Uwamariya said to allow cheating to thrive defeats the whole essence of examinations, which she said was to grade candidates according to their abilities. She urged teachers to take a strong stance on examination malpractice.
“We must promote fairness and equality by promoting objectivity to create a community that follows due process,” she said.