Last week, the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) released the results for the 2010 National Examinations for both the Primary and Ordinary level education. With the usual pomp, the RNEC chief handed over results to the State Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Mathias Harebamungu.
As reported by this paper there was a general improvement in the performance at both Primary and Ordinary level as compared to 2009. Going to the numbers, an impressive 82.5 per cent of those who sat the exams managed to pass as compared to 68 per cent in 2009.
Additionally, girls performed better than boys. If one looked closely, there was indeed nothing so surprising about the results. The affirmative action efforts targeting the education of girls have started to bear fruit with girls performing better than boys. This is a very good step and the government should be commended for this effort.
The same schools that performed well last year seem to be consolidating their prowess. At the secondary level, the Catholic-founded institutions continued to dominate the list of best performing schools and students. They were joined by other schools like Nu-Vision High School, Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux and Maranyundo Girls School in Bugesera.
At the primary level, Kigali Parents School had a field day dominating the list of best performing students. I am sure the parents whose children attend this school must be some of the happiest in this country right now. At the district level, Gasabo district performed exceptionally well thanks to schools like Kigali Parents, La Fontaine, Source de Savoir, and Good Foundation.
At times like this, all stakeholders in the education sector should take a moment to evaluate this performance to see if set targets have been met. If they were indeed met then it is time to set new and higher targets. For those whose targets were not met, it is only prudent to try and find out why success eluded them and how it can be achieved the next time round.
Schools where a good number of students were unclassified (or classified as failures) must sit down and look for solutions to this problem. What went wrong last year that needs correction to ensure better performance this year? Why for example, does a relatively new school like Nu-Vision manage to perform better than schools that have been around for more than 10 years?
As a country we need to devise better ways of raising academic expectations, dealing with academic failure, rewarding success and helping schools to improve their student’s performance. This is because nothing other than education will see Rwanda achieving its set goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy by the year 2020. Quality education should be the focus from now on.
Since education is one of the Millennium Development Goals, its central role in the developmental process should be acknowledged at all times. Since the media is known to set the agenda then it should do a good job of publicising the education agenda as well.