Rwandan educationists say the dismissal of senior officials at Rwanda education Board (REB) was long overdue given recurrent shortfalls in this key institution.
On April 11th, the Cabinet Meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame removed five officials in REB from their duties.
The dismissed officials include Dr. Joyce Musabe who was the Head of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Resources Department and Dr. Michael Rwibasira Tusiime who was the Head of Examinations, Selection and Assessment Department.
Other REB officials who were affected are Peter Mujiji who served as Corporate Division, Francis Karegesa, Director of Finance and Ruta Bagaya who was Head of Procurement Unity.
This comes two months after the dismissal of the REB boss Janvier Gasana. Amidst several education shortfalls, Gasana was dismissed in February after serving in this position for about 3 years.
Prior to the dismissal of REB Director, the President had dropped the Education Minister Dr. Papias Malimba, replacing him with Eugene Mutimura in December last year.
Civil servants, private operators in the education sector told KT Press, that ‘cleaning the house’ in this key institution was long overdue.
Sector Education Officer (SEO) in Northern Province said on condition of anonymity, that, there is a lot of inconsistencies in REB administration which is affecting the education system in general.
“Take for example the issue of capitation grants and operation fees the government gives to each public school; we are supposed to get this fund on quarterly basis, but we have not received it for the whole of last year,” he said.
Normally, this money is used to buy stationery materials, furniture and infrastructure maintenance.
“This affects business,” he said.
A director of a primary school in Nyamagabe district told KT Press that as a result, “our support staff and suppliers of stationery are very angry because we have not paid them for the last two years.”
The director said his school has a debt of Rwf1.5 million owed to the guards, cleaners, kitchen staff and suppliers.
“They have reached a point where they come to knock at our homes. It’s too bad,” he said.
Meanwhile, an issue that starts as far as 2015, also kept the officials questionable. In June 2015, REB officials failed to explain before the parliament how a scam whereby $516,397 (about Rwf346.5 million) which was meant for tuition for 14 students in Nigeria was swindled. It involved some officials on this list of the five, on top of former director General-Janvier Gasana.
Dr. Isaac Munyakazi, Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education had informed cabinet that the 2018 National examinations in secondary schools for Ordinary Level and for Advanced Level will not consider the Competence-Based Curriculum that was introduced three years ago.
“The 2018 National examinations in secondary schools for Ordinary Level and for Advanced Level shall be done in the same subjects as it was in the last school year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Isaac Munyakazi, State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education told the cabinet, that subjects that have been introduced with the Competence-Based Curriculum including; ICT, Literature in English, French and Kiswahili in Ordinary Level shall not be considered for national examinations as previously announced.
For A ‘Level, subjects including Sub-mathematics and French shall not also be part of national examinations “due to various challenges faced in the implementation of the Competence Based Curriculum,” Munyakazi told cabinet on Tuesday
Introduced in 2016, the competence based Curriculum ensures that there is consistency and coherence in the delivery of education across all levels of general education in Rwandan schools.
Educationists have an idea what is happening at REB; they say the institution failed to supply required education materials, mainly – books.
“It would be unfair for the candidates to do sub-mathematics in national examinations and yet no books and laboratory facilities have been availed for this course,” André Twagirayezu, Mathematics Teacher at New Vision Secondary School told KT Press.
“Since we started implementing the Competence-Based Curriculum in 2016, students have only been learning theory,” Twagirayezu said adding that since the new curriculum was launched, they got only one batch of books, which is just one part of the curriculum.
“We are still waiting for S3 and S6 text books while they are preparing for national examinations. It could be unfair for our students to sit the exam.”
John Turatsinze, Headmaster at GS Matimba, is also puzzled by the implementation of the Competence-Based Curriculum saying that it faces many irregularities.
“The curriculum provides that P5 and P6 students must have a laptop from the One Laptop per Child Program, but they don’t,” he said adding that “We are still using the old curriculum due to lack of instructional materials.”
Meanwhile, a report by the Auditor General has always raised an issue of thousands of laptops from this program that are idle because they are kept in their boxes.
Turatsinze also points out that there have been inconsistencies in training teachers on how to implement the curriculum.
“They should have given enough training to the teachers on how to use the curriculum, but they trained only 32 teachers in the district and tasked them to train the others,” he said adding that they were tasked to train teachers at sector level in only one week.
Meanwhile, another teacher revealed an issue of delays in issuing certificates to secondary school graduates by REB.
“Those who need to apply for scholarship abroad are always affected by this,” he said.