Following the cabinet decision early this month to harmonise the academic calendar for higher institutions of learning with that of other East African Community (EAC) member states, the national examinations calendar will also be modified to match the changes.
This was announced by the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) John Rutayisire.
He said that the changes are necessary, to give room for other activities prior to students starting university.
Under the new arrangement, universities will be opening in November and close in June instead of January to October as has been the case previously.
“We are compelled to reduce the period of marking the national examinations for A-level to accommodate the new changes in the academic calendar for higher learning institutions,” said Rutayisire.
Usually, the publishing of the A-level results has been taking place six months from the time of examinations in November.
“We shall be doing the marking and publishing of the results within only four months. This will allow other activities like preparing SFAR lists for needy students,” he said.
SFAR is the Students Financing Agency of Rwanda.
He, however, added that the new initiative will necessitate them to work harder while maintaining the required standards which is a big challenge. “Aligning ourselves to other countries in the region will require us to change our mindset since we shall have to work quite longer than we have been doing.”
Speaking to The New Times, Richard Muhizi, a senior six student at Kagarama Secondary School, was upbeat over the new development.
“It is good news for me because I will not sit for a year waiting to join the university which has been wastage of time,” said Muhizi.
High school finalists in Rwanda formerly had to wait for a full year before joining their respective universities.
According to the Minister of Education Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, the harmonisation of the academic calendar will help students who wish to relocate to institutions in other East African countries with their studies uninterrupted.
The alignment comes in the wake of a bigger plan to fully harmonise the education systems of all the East African partner states whose modalities are still being worked out.
They will include changes in the current syllabus to suit the integration requirements.