Lecturers and students at University of Rwanda are grappling with the new assessment of examinations that requires students to repeat all programme courses if they fail one course unit.
Under the new modular system introduced last year, students are have to repeat an entire programme in case they fail one of the courses.
However, concerns about retakes and remedial courses and programmes by university students have left many between a rock and a hard place.
Lecturers say it is tiresome and a waste of both resources and time with no benefits.
Students were the first to complain, saying the modular system and its assessment and examination process have become a new burden in the pursuit of education and has made lecturing more of a business for some colleges.
“When a student fails more than 20 credits in a program, they can continue on, but have to retake those credits, alongside new courses in the new year.
However, when a student fails more than 20 credits, they will repeat the whole year irrespective of how many modules are covered,” said a student at the College of Agriculture at the University of Rwanda.
According to the student, retakes at campus would mean students pay an extra fee of Rwf7,500 ($9) per one of the failed credit, while a remedial, which involves re-sitting an exam where a student scored between 35 and 40 out of 100, the student is charged an extra fee of Rwf3,500 ($4) for the exam.
The relocation of campuses last year in September, means many of the students will have to travel to their former campuses to do their retakes from there, while attending courses at their new campuses.
According to Simon Rukeratabaro, a lecturer at the department of Agriculture at Busogo campus, University of Rwanda, the new evaluation system should be phased out or be restructured to avoid further loss of time and resources.
“If we are talking about quality of education, then students should either pass or sit for a second exam at no extra charge,” said Mr Rukeratabaro.
While briefly commenting on the complaints, Laetitia Nyinawamwiza, the Principal of the College said she was aware of the complaints and that they have raised it with the management of the university although they were yet to receive an answer.
“Management has taken the complaint seriously and has formed a team to analyse the issue and is expected to deliver the findings soon,” said Dr Nyinawamwiza.
“However, students need to understand that in such case, lectures need to be paid for their extra work,” she added.
In her reaction to the concerns, MP Agnes Mukazibera, who is the chairperson of the education parliamentary committee told Rwanda Today that the issue will be discussed even though they are yet to receive a formal complaint.
“I also don’t see why a student would retake courses and sit for exams because there are some credits the students couldn’t fulfil. However, the issue is still unclear, but we believe that the officials will explain the issue further,” said Ms Mukazibera.
In early September, the University of Rwanda announced a restructuring plan that saw some of the colleges merged and relocated from their usual premises.
The restructure saw the merger of schools, colleges and programmes being divided between seven new campuses at the University of Rwanda.