KIGALI - Candidates whose results were cancelled in the 2007 Primary Leaving Examinations and Senior Three (Tronc Commun) were in shock when they learnt that their years of studying had gone down the drain.
324 candidates in primary and 27 in secondary had their results nullified due to cheating.
Announcing the results, State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Joseph Murekeraho said the affected candidates would re-sit exams but warned that stern action would be taken against them if they cheated again.
Exam cheating in primary schools decreased in the 2007 compared to 2006 when 474 students’ results were cancelled countrywide.
Murekeraho, who was flanked by Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC), Executive Secretary, John Rutayisire, said the circumstances which led to the cancellation of the results were transparent.
The best candidates were mostly drawn from urban schools. The RNEC officials said ranking schools according to the districts were left out deliberately this year to avoid unnecessary rivalries.
Though the minister could not specify to journalists the methods used to cheat, sources from the ministry said impersonation featured prominently in Senior Three exams.
He advised candidates to desist from engaging in malpractices to avoid being penalized next year and added that authorities would continue with the fight against cheating until the vice was eradicated.
In 2007, a total of 115,924 primary students sat for exams compared to 119,708 candidates in 2006.
The number of candidates who scored distinctions in ‘O’ levels declined from 11.9 percent in 2006 to 6.8 percent last year. A total of 46,719 candidates sat for the national examinations, up from 44,865 in 2006. The overall performance for Primary Six declined severely from 43.3 percent in 2006 to 26.74 percent.
Minister Murekeraho revealed that there were widespread reports among schools where head teachers only pick the best students to sit for exams in order to score high.
“They only pick the top cream so that they excite the public that they do well when exams are out. They don’t care about the rest of the students,” tough-talking Murekeraho revealed.
He warned that head teachers who deny some candidates an opportunity to exams in a bid to score highly in national exams will be sacked.
“We are going to investigate head teachers of such schools and mayors who refuse candidates to sit. You must have scored zero for teachers to deny you exams,” Murekeraho said. He however praised upcountry public schools for shunning examination irregularities in the last three years and challenged teachers and pupils to cooperate in portraying the good image of the country.
The Ministry of Education, RNEC and school heads will soon meet in Remera for senior one and four selections.