The administration of Ecole de Science de Musanze last Friday evening suspended 35 students, members of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), for missing an assessment on Saturday aimed at heralding the national examinations, arguing it was on Sabbath.
The national examinations began yesterday countrywide.
The school’s director, Fr. Jean Claude Nzabonimpa, observed the school’s administration was stunned after finding out that some students had missed the assessment supposed to make up for lessons not learnt in the course of the school term.
“We set the test on Friday at 6.00 pm. I was shocked to learn that some students had refused to do the test because they were beginning the Sabbath. We don’t accept this. There is clear timetable for all activities here,” Nzabonimpa explained.
“This school respects freedom of worship, each denomination has their days for prayers, the classes are optional on Sunday or Saturday, but this examination was meant to compensate for the lessons which they missed as we prepare for the national exams”.
Nzabonimpa observed that the school’s administration had since reinstated 23 of the affected students after they promised in front of their parents, to respect the school rules and regulations.
The head of education in the North Rwanda Association of SDA, Pastor Mutuyimana Nkundakozera, said that the church had approached the school authorities and pleaded the case for the students.
“We were contacted by the parents when the students were suspended; it’s not an issue of indiscipline among students. Besides, freedom of worship and their right to such beliefs should be respected,’’ Mutuyimana said.
Ecole de science de Musanze, a Catholic affiliated school, has over 100 Adventist students, who according to the director, have had no prior disciplinary issues.