As usual, the school term kicked off with an annoyingly low turn up of students. It is high time the Education Ministry pronounced itself on this sickening trend. Students should not be allowed to think that reporting to school on time is a leisurely matter.
Schools must also make an effort to clearly point out to students that studies begin immediately and not gradually. Late comers should be able to satisfactorily explain why they failed to show up on the official date designated by the Ministry of Education.
Of all the concerned parties, I am extremely bitter with the parents who continue to allow their spoilt children to extend their holiday yet their colleagues are already at school. Do they ever stop to realise that they will still have to pay all the school dues even for the days when their children were simply sitting at home watching TV instead of going to school?
Away from that, it was quite refreshing to hear that the list of beneficiaries of the Fund for the Support of Genocide Survivors has been cleaned up and more than 19,000 pretenders were struck off the list. The figure represents 30 percent of the total number of beneficiaries before the clean up exercise.
To be precise, these people have been bleeding the fund and it is a pity that it took this long for the clean up to occur. The only consolation is the promise that these false beneficiaries are to be punished and, of course, the officials who abetted this practice of allowing the wrong people on the list deserve tougher verdicts.
Such clean up exercises should not just be a result of several complaints from society. Auditing should be a regular exercise carried out to ensure that funds go to deserving people. Like to genocide, we should say Never Again to such gross corruption.
In the same spirit, Rwanda’s education sector would quickly develop if other stakeholders carried out similar but thorough audits of the system so as to squeeze out inefficiencies. A good example is the Rwanda National Examinations Council (RNEC).
Over the years, I have noticed that a large number of people are beating RNEC’s system procedures in a rather detrimental way. There is a scheme (popularly referred to as Candidats libres) for adults whose schooling was interrupted, to study privately and sit for national examinations in order to continue with their studies or simply to acquire academic qualifications.
However, this window is being grossly abused by the younger students. How? Well, we have a good number of students who, after being expelled from one school for indiscipline, end up registering as private candidates. Others do this after spending their school fees on other things. These ones even pretend to be studying in one school and once they are dismissed for school fees issues, they never return but only wait to sit their exams as private candidates.
The other group is of students who, after sitting National Exams at the S.6 level and fail to get the required points, refuse to return to the normal school system. They opt for the private candidate scheme. This is arguably the largest number and they have turned the scheme into some sort of second chance opportunity yet it was designed with very different objectives.
I am meant to understand that one must have been out of school for about five years to qualify for this scheme but I know several students who go to this programme straight out of Senior Six.
This only implies that, education goes hand in hand with discipline and students should not undermine the standard school system just because they can use the private schooling scheme as an escape route.