President Paul Kagame has curved out three new bodies from the Rwanda Education Board (REB) – in what are seen as attempts to address longstanding concerns over the country’s education system.
In the latest National Gazette published October 20, presidential orders establish completely new bodies.
The new changes are the President’s move to try to solve the perennial poor education standards across the board. The thinking, perhaps, is that with specialized entities handling each level, the technocrats there will have their work cut out; they don’t have to be all over the place when doing their planning.
First, is the ‘National Examination and School Inspection Authority’ which will exclusively deal with preparing the national exams for Primary Six (P6), Senior Secondary Level Three (O’Level) and Senior Secondary Level Six (A’Level). These exams are a big undertaking and have not had a specialized agency to prepare.
Last year, local media revealed a scandal in which hundreds of teachers kept at facility to mark the national exams, were eating like pigs and living in filthy conditions. The situation was rectified following the reports, but it was the clearest indication that nobody was in charge.
The President has also created the ‘Rwanda Basic Education Board’, which will be autonomous body of the education ministry. This essentially renames what has been existing as “Rwanda Education Board”. The new body will remain abbreviated as “REB”.
Its mission will include handling curriculum development for nursery, primary, secondary, specialised schools and adult literacy schools.
In a related development, the President also establishes the ‘Rwanda Technical and Vocational Education and Training Board’. This one will also be an autonomous entity of the education ministry dealing with hundreds of vocational and technical institutions in the country.
The new changes mean there will be a body mandated to handle a specific level of the education system.
The High Education Council (HEC) deals with high institutions, universities and colleagues.
REB will handle the level from kindergarten to secondary, as well as adult literacy.
And then the Rwanda Technical and Vocational Education and Training Board will oversee its own specialized sector.
The introduction of a separate body to handle national exams means REB will be preparing students who have to sit for an exam set by another independent body. This will remove a bizarre situation in which REB was expected to review itself.