REB sets tough conditions for private coaching schools

A new directive by the Rwanda Education Board (REB) has asked centres preparing candidates for the end of high school national exams to atleast coach them for a year before registering them for exams.
Candidates will now have to be coached for a year before sitting end of high school examinations . The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.
Candidates will now have to be coached for a year before sitting end of high school examinations . The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.

A new directive by the Rwanda Education Board (REB) has asked centres preparing candidates for the end of high school national exams to atleast coach them for a year before registering them for exams.

The decision was reached on Tuesday, following a meeting between REB officials and owners of these centres, which have been a bone of contention, following the nullification of the results of 2012 candidates who studied there.

The centre owners, however, say the decision is harsh and will not improve the quality of education but rather impede it.

“We can’t call it a meeting because they only instructed us what we should do. How can you train someone for one year and say he is ready to sit for the same exam which others have been preparing for more than three years?” said Augustin Ntaganda, who owns a centre, called APECD (Association for Promotion of Education and Community Development).

Ntaganda said his centre has been coaching students since 1999.

He said that they normally receive candidates of various categories with different backgrounds and this forms the basis of the period one spends at the centres.

“A one year training of people who have been out of the school for over 15 years would be a very tough and almost impossible,” he added.

To be registered as a private candidate, one should have spent at least five years out of school after completing O’level with justification, pay Rwf15,000 in Rwanda Revenue Authority and present to the REB staff receipts to acquire a candidate’s form.

Some clients joining private candidates enroll in centres to study English and other languages before they get an option for the combination they want to offer.

Negative effect

Philbert Harelimana, who heads Club Spik, another private candidate centre said in Kigali, REB should consider their contribution.

“Some of our former candidates graduated in universities, ordering us to teach for one year will negatively affect the quality of education as well as our clients,” he added.

The centres were ordered to register with Rwanda Development Board, and then contact REB and the officials in charge of education at district level before reopening. In addition, heads of centres were ordered to submit to REB the full identification of the students they are training.

“It is not easy to get full identification of students when we are not open as they are scattered. REB should let us start coaching and then do all they want us to do after, no one is against registering,” Harelimana requested

The Ministry of Education recently suspended the operations of all private coaching schools in the country, urging them to fulfil the necessary education requirements.

The move came days after the Rwanda Education Board (REB) cancelled results of over 570 private candidates over alleged cheating.

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