A total of 278, 945 students are expected to sit for the 2011 national examinations at all the three levels of basic education – primary, O level, A’ level - according to the Rwanda National Examinations Council (RNEC).
The trend shows a slight decrease in the number of candidates compared to 2010 when 294,242 candidates sat for examinations.
The decrease is manifest at the Primary Six level, where 180, 990 pupils sat for examinations in 2010 compared to 167, 166 registered for the 2011 Primary Leaving Examinations.
Another decrease is apparent at the A-level where only 31, 711 students registered, a far cry from the whopping figure of 51, 484 last year.
Speaking to The New Times, the outgoing Executive Secretary of RNEC John Rutayisire attributed the decrease at the Primary school level to the introduction of the Nine Year Basic Education (9YBE).
“Before the introduction of 9YBE, a big number of pupils who sat for P.6 exams and were not selected to continue (schooling) at the secondary level, used to repeat primary six to be able to qualify for secondary school,” said Rutayisire.
He explained that with the introduction of the program, pupils no longer repeat Primary Six.
At advanced level, the decrease was put down to the efforts put in place to promote vocational and technical courses.
“Some students were transferred to the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) for professional and technical options which explains the decrease at A-level,” he said, adding that starting from this year, RNEC would administer examinations for candidates sitting for the General Secondary Education level only.
In contrast, the Ordinary Level registered an increase in the number of candidates from 61, 768 last year, to 80, 068 this year. This was attributed to the first intake of 9YBE students, who are now in Secondary Three.