National exams for Ordinary, Advanced Levels as well as vocational schools kicked off this morning, with 119, 000 O’ Level and 51, 291 A’ Level sitting their exams on the rainy Tuesday morning.
The Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Isaac Munyakazi officially kicked off the exams at Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare in Huye District, Southern Province.
Dr Munyakazi told the 397 candidates to strive for the best and excel in their exams for a better future and prepare themselves for future endeavors.
“We are here to encourage you not as officials but parents and we want you to say no to failure and strive for the very best,” Munyakazi told the candidates, reminding them not to panic because the exams are not different from what they have learnt or previous tests and exams they have done in preparation for national exams.
In different parts of the country, KT Press and Kigali Today reporters indicated that exams started without any incident generally, despite the early morning rain. Exams began at 8am in all centres.
Technical and vocation students at TSS Kabutare were urged to strive for the best because the country is counting on them to be agents of change and innovation.
In Nyagatare district, our reporter, Emmanuel Sebasaza Gasana reported that one of the students who sat the exams is Joshua Ashimwe, who is serving a six year sentence.
Ashimwe, now 22, was in S.6 and the information prefect at Izaza School of Education, Ngoma when he was arrested in 2015.
He is serving the sentence at Nyagatare Juvenile Prison. He was transferred to the Nyagatare facility to serve his sentence while teaching juveniles.
“When I got into prison, I felt like my life had come to an end. I am happy that the government has given me the opportunity to complete my studies. I am confident that I was well prepared for the exams, I got the necessary education I needed,” he said ahead of the exams.
The Spokesperson of Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) SSP Hillary Sengabo said that Ashimwe was given the opportunity to complete his education while still serving his sentence as part of efforts to improve education standards in the juvenile correctional facility.
“First priority was given to young children and now we are advancing towards inmates who are older, though we understand most of them, like Ashimwe, are still young and can go on to complete their university studies so that they become useful for the country upon completing their studies.
“We want to upgrade the standard of education in prisons, using people like Ashimwe with a background in education. He was transferred here purposely to teach others,” Sengabo said.
Ashimwe is left with two and a half years on his sentence. Six juvenile inmates at the facility sat their O, Level exams.
In Nyagatare, 4, 814 candidates sat their O’ Level exams while 2, 108 did their A’ Level examinations while 412 sat vocational exams.
One O’Level student from GS Rwempasha failed to do his exams after he was admitted in Nyagatare hospital. It had been expected that he would do his exams in hospital but his condition worsened.
This year, the number of Level candidates increased by 20,034 while A’ Level candidates went up by 5,267, compared to the candidates who sat their exams last year. The exams end on November 19.