The Minister of Education, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, has urged students sitting their national examinations to remain calm and focus on doing their exams while ensuring their own safety amid reports of New Coronavirus cases among primary school pupils set to sit Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
Dr. Uwamariya flagged off the PLE national exams at Groupe Scholaire Ruyenzi, in Kamonyi district, where she urged students to urged students to remain calm and attempt their exams without fear and to continue to implement COVID-19 prevention strategies when they are at school, at home and even when they are in their families.
The Ministry on Monday confirmed that 57 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) candidates contracted Covid-19 but will continue to sit for primary level leaving exams in isolated rooms that were established in all examination centers across the country.
Speaking at the launch for PLE national exams for 2021 at Groupe Scolaire Mayange located in Bugesera district, Eastern Province on Monday 12, Gaspard Twagirayezu, the Minister of State for Education in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, said that no student will miss their exams due to the virus.
According to Twagirayezu, PLE candidates who contracted Covid-19 will be escorted by their relatives from their homes to the examination centers and back, after writing exams in the evening.
Twagirayezu said none is in a critical condition and all patients are expected to sit for the national examinations.
“The Covid-19 cases keep increasing, but so far, we have about 60 candidates that have tested positive. However, all students will be given chances to write their primary living examinations,” Twagirayezu said.
“All candidates are expected to sit for examinations, apart from those who could be in critical conditions due to the Covid-19. The isolated rooms have been prepared in all examination centers, in case of positive cases. Positive candidates will be given opportunities,” Twagirayezu said.
He added that all candidates have been briefed on the Covid-19 preventive measures and will continue to be guided by the examination supervisors to make sure that safety is guaranteed.
The PLE exams will be written and celebrated especially for all students who had to wait for two years following the suspension of schools to prevent more spread of COVID-19 on March 14, 2020.
PLE candidates will write exams for two days, from 12 July to 14 July 2021.
According to the National Examinations and Schools Inspection Authority (NESA), 254,678 PLE candidates enrolled compared to the 286,087 in 2019, representing an 11% decrease.
“We are expecting good results, though students were interrupted by the pandemic. The curriculum was fully covered in schools and students were also able to catch up with studies, despite the pandemic challenges” Twagirayezu said.
“The examinations started well today and hopefully will end well. All candidates know the examination guidelines including time and the sitting arrangements, everything has been prepared in the manner that allows a conducive environment for exams,” he added.
“Students know their index numbers, desks, one per desk, all the windows are supposed to be open, wearing masks for all people in the examination rooms is mandatory, among others guidelines. All of these measures have been respected so far,” Twagirayezu noted.
He further noted that examinations that arrived in examination centers on time and time to start should continue to be respected by all the students and supervisors.
Starting today up to the end of August, candidates in Primary, ordinary, advanced secondary schools, and vocational schools will be writing their final examinations. They are also set to write their exams despite COVID-19 challenges.
According to the National Examinations and Schools Inspection Authority (NESA), ordinary (O Level) exams will start on 20 July 2021, with 122,320 candidates compared to 119,932 candidates in 2019. The exams will go through 27 July 2021.
The O-level candidates comprise 67,685 girls and 54,635 boys. The total number of O-level candidates represents an increase of 2% compared to 2019 with 119,932 candidates.
The examination centers for the Ordinary level candidates also increased from 489 to 547.
In the Advanced level or senior six, there is also an increase of 1.7%, up to 52,145 (26,892 girls and 22,894 boys) from 52,291 in 2019.
However, there was a drop in science candidates from 15,251 in 2019 to 14,785, representing a difference of 3.1%.
For the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools, they kicked off with practical examinations from 14 June to July 3rd.
There are 22,910 TVET candidates this year, comprising 9,916 girls and 12,994 boys. They are writing examinations from 149 examination centers.
For the TVET candidates, there was an increase in the number of candidates also, with 3,084 candidates expected to write their final exams.
In addition, a total of 1,857 private candidates will sit advanced level exams, up from 1584 candidates in 2019, representing an increase of 17.2%.