Rwanda's new school ranking system in the works

Sunday January 21 2018

A school in Kigali. Rwanda's government is set

A school in Kigali. Rwanda's government is set to resume ranking of primary and secondary schools. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By RODRIGUES RWIRAHIRA
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wanda's government will resume ranking of primary and secondary schools using a broader criteria beyond just good performance in national exams in an effort to promote competition, comprehensive teaching and promotion of better quality education.

According to officials, the previous rankings — which were solely based on performance in national exams — led to the system being abused by some schools.

Michael Tusiime, the deputy director-general at the Rwanda Education Board said schools were manipulating the system by poaching grade A students from different schools in a bid to only get high scores in national exams.

“In such a scenario, schools do not have to put much effort in teaching. Many students have been dismissed because the school wanted to avoid those with lower grades,” said Dr Tusiime.

He added that the move to change the ranking system was still in progress, but it will provide guidance towards achieving a comprehensive education system.

“We are yet to decide whether schools will be ranked by names or categories and we want the parametres to be known and owned by schools,” said Dr Tusiime.

Students retention

The deputy director-general said variables like completion and retention of students will be prioritised in the new ranking system to check how schools are performing.

“The focus there is to see how teaching would have led to acquisition of knowledge and match up with the rest. This selective method of avoiding lower grade is what we are trying to avoid,” he added.

Dr Tusiime said parents should go for schools that teach, not those that pick the best students.

“If parents are flooding a certain school let them go for something holistic, let it be performance and more, we also want schools to be aware that they will be losing marks in case they are found to have been deliberately dismissing low performing students,” he said. 

The Minister of State in charge of primary and secondary education, Isaac Munyakazi said school rankings should be expected as early as end of February.

Teachers have welcomed the move saying it will be a game-changer in the sector as the education docket has been lagging behind other public sectors that operate and evaluate based on performance (Imihigo).

“The new ranking system will encourage competition among schools. Sectors like health, good governance and services are way ahead of education because they work within given targets, which ensure delivery and quality,” said Justine Fifi Kayange a teacher in Kigali.

Members of the public and educators have been calling for school rankings or publication of performance per subjects by each school.

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