National practical examinations for Senior Six students in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools began yesterday.
Over 17,426 candidates countrywide will sit for the two-week exams. They will be examined in 20 subjects including accounting, agriculture, building and construction, electronics and telecommunication, mechanics, among others.
Officially launching the exams at Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College, Nyamirambo in Kigali City, the State Minster for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, reiterated that the government’s focus is to enhance job creation through TVET.
“We have come here to see how technical students have planned their projects and defend them in practical exams. We want to focus on practical issues instead of theory and ensure that Rwandans become job creators other than job seekers,” said the minister.
Students at the Nyamirambo-based examination centre are drawn from Ecole Techniques Appliqués de Kimisange (ETAK) and Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College.
A student at ETAK, Jean Bosco Nshimiyimana, expressed his preference for technical subjects but decried lack of training equipment and the fact that students cannot directly pursue university education after A’ level.
“We do not have enough materials for practice. We study theoretical issues yet we sit practical exams which is difficult for us. Besides, however hard you may study, it is almost impossible to join university thereafter,” said Nshimiyimana.
“It would be ideal to provide us with enough equipment as practical studies are so enjoyable; I have started to benefit from the skills learnt since I was in senior five,” Innocent Ishimwe, a public works student at Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College, said.
“My dream is to become an architect and compete worldwide as I will have no limitation,” he added.
The minister acknowledged the inadequacy of equipment in TVET schools, but insisted that much is being done to make them available,
“Besides lack of technical equipment which is expensive, we also have the issue of qualified teachers. We hope that by 2017, we will have sorted it,” said Harebamungu.
At the launch, the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) handed building equipment worth Rwf141 million to TVET schools, including theodolites, precision instruments used in construction to measure angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. The equipment will go to ETO Nyamata, St Peter Kimbogo, ETO Gatumba in Ngororero District, Gakoni Polytechnic in Gatsibo District, among others.
According to the deputy director general of WDA, Irené Nsengiyumva, the equipment which will help in the teaching of the construction studies, was donated by a donor from England’s Portsmouth University.
Alex Ntwari, a student at ETO Nyamata, said the equipment had come in handy, pointing out that schools previously lacked such equipment which was a barrier to practical work.
WDA has over 293 technical secondary schools and vocational training centres spread countrywide as well as two Integrated polytechnics regional centres (IPRC) in Kicukiro and Huye districts.
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti, The New Times