So much seems to have happened recently that I had a tough time deciding what to write about in particular. After writing and crossing out so many ideas from my notebook, I finally decided to create three categories: The good, the bad and the ugly.
The news that the Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) had mixed up some of the results was a huge stain on the good record of the council. Although the fault was rectified after some teachers complained, it still left a bad odour in the air.
How could such a huge error happen and go unnoticed by the council until teachers complained? Does this imply that the council has no proof-checking mechanism in place?
We should also not forget last year’s debacle during the Primary Leaving Examinations where some students sat for the wrong exam and it was only realised long after the exam had been done.
Making a mistake is bad enough, but the inability to notice the error fast enough is what RNEC should work towards eliminating. We cannot afford to have the public doubting the credibility of RNEC. They should strive to do a good job with minimal room for errors.
As for the ugly bits; nothing can compare to the shocking news that appeared in The New Times concerning the demolition of Kigali Starlight School in Kimironko. Bringing down the school is bad enough but the fact that it happened while over 125 pupils were attending class is downright ugly.
Whatever problem the school had with the local authorities, I don’t see the justification for demolition to happen during class time. What image are the children supposed to pick from such an incident? I think if there was indeed cause for demolition then the best time to carry it out would be during the holidays.
Otherwise how are pupils supposed to find new schools in the middle of the school term if their school is razed to the ground? On a brighter side, it was refreshing to read again in The New Times that the government is considering to motivate teachers to ensure quality in the education sector. This was revealed by the Education Minister, Dr. Charles Murigande.
Many teachers are not motivated, thanks to the low salaries that do not seem to augur well with the high cost of living. These low salaries have turned the teaching profession into a stepping stone for other careers. It is common to find teachers leaving the profession for greener pastures.
Many teachers in this country are always on the move to other careers where the pay is better and this leaves some schools with no teachers or with very few teachers who end up taking on such a heavy work load.
Also, the plan to construct teachers’ living quarters is so pertinent considering the trouble teachers go through to find accommodation close to the schools where they teach. It is important to note that once teachers are staying close to the school, then monitoring students becomes easier.
To crown it all, the Ministry of Education is also set to increase the output of teachers’ training colleges so as to address the shortage of professional teachers at lower secondary level. In short, the good seems to out weigh the bad and the ugly and we just hope that the Ministry will expedite all these wonderful plans.