Crime & Investigation

Inside Story: Why Rwanda Students Fled To Uganda

ask geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Officials at the Rwanda Ministry of Education said the students were fleeing from being held accountable for indulging in examination malpractices.

President Paul Kagame on Saturday said it was unacceptable for people to turn criminality into reasons to seek asylum.

“These are part of 574 students who were studying at informal ‘coaching centres’, and through the proprietors of these centres, bribed head teachers of formal schools to register them as fulltime candidates to sit for senior six exams,” said Kagame.

“When the Rwanda Examinations Council discovered these malpractices, the results were cancelled, and the students were asked to re-sit the exams.”

Uganda Police early last week said they were holding 16 students who came from Rwanda before reporting at Old Kampala Police Station where they requested to be facilitated for asylum.


The students claimed they were being witch hunted by their government, especially a one Ngarambe at the Rwandan embassy in Kampala.

Speaking to journalists, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Idi Ibin Ssenkumbi said 14 of the students were male and two females.

“They have been interrogated and in the meantime police is still taking care of them. If they deserve asylum, it will be extended to them but if we find out that they don’t deserve it, they will be deported to their country,” said Ssenkumbi.

What went wrong?

World over, national examinations are prepared and administered under specific conditions. In Rwanda, there are established principles, conditions, rules and regulations that govern the conduct of national examinations candidates.

This also stipulates punishments and other measures taken in case of examination default.

During the 2012 National examinations, there were various cases of examinations malpractice, but the most significant one involved over 500 students who were found having illegally registered for Advanced level national examinations.

According to the examinations rules and regulations, these students were not eligible to register as full-time school candidates in 2012 because they were not full-time students.

They illegally filled school candidates’ examinations registration forms meant for school candidates yet they were not full-time students at any school. They forged their identities to appear as regular school candidates in 8 private high schools, yet they were not students at these schools.

During National examinations in November, 2012, they were found in examination centres in possession of school identity cards and wearing school uniforms of the respective high schools where they illegally registered for the examinations.

Officials said specifically, some females were found with veils on their heads (in such non-catholic schools), “pretending to be nuns and, apparently, they did this because they did not want to cut their long hair just for the short examination period.”

It was also discovered that the students connived with officials of the 8 high schools and some of them with individuals who were helping (teaching) them to prepare for the examinations.

They paid to the privately owned high schools an amount of money ranging from 20,000Frw to 90,000Frw as a requirement to be registered as full-time students.

According to a statement by Rwanda’s Education Ministry, some of the proprietors of the private candidates coaching centres in Kigali and other provinces connived with these students and officials from the 8 high schools to register these students.

“Some of the proprietors of these centres are said to have disappeared following the public announcement of the malpractice. Head teachers and other staff of the high schools who were involved in the malpractice also either disappeared or were expelled from the school,” the statement seen by Chimpreports on Monday, reads in part.


The students involved in the malpractice sat for Ordinary level national examinations Senior 3 or the equivalent) and did not proceed to upper secondary school (Advanced) level.

Others were expelled from upper secondary school (S4. S5 or S6) due to indiscipline or they were asked to repeat due to poor academic performance and they instead decided to drop out of school or had skipped some of the grades (S·L S5 or 6) for unknown reasons.

The students who fled to Uganda were also found with forged academic documents while others who were still in S4 or S5 of upper secondary but decided to registered before completing S6.

Others did not have proof of having completed Ordinary level.

The Ministry could not establish which level of basic education they possess not even primary.ELIGIBILITY

To register as a candidate for A-level national examinations in Rwanda, one must have attended secondary school and progressed through the upper secondary school level, that is senior 4, 5 and 6.

These are registered by their respective school administration and registration forms delivered by the school administration to Rwanda Education Board (REB).

Private candidates who are registered by REB are not required to be full-time students. They should, however meet minimum requirements to register as private candidates. They are registered at 13 private candidates’ registration/examinations centres nationwide.

Officials said the education irregularities and examinations misconduct is not only illegal but the quality of education that the country is striving for is undermined by both the candidates who were not qualifying to sit for national examinations and the schools that assisted them to register illegally.

“In particular, students who do not meet the required conditions for sitting Advanced level national examinations, and consequently proceeding to higher levels without having covered the required curriculum content – are neither well prepared to proceed to further education, nor for the labour market,” the ministry added.

Government further condemned the unethical conduct and a culture of corruption among some school administrators (who take money from students to facilitate them access national examinations illegally) and students.

Usually, some administrative decisions and punishments are handed down to those who have roles in the examination malpractices.

To the 552 candidates, their candidature for 2012 examinations was cancelled. This is because they registered illegally.

Private candidates coaching centres were issued with Instructions to regulate their establishment and functioning to ensure that in future these centres do not get involved in the malpractice.

Private high schools that were at that time “examinations centres” will no longer be examinations centers while head teachers and other staff at these schools who were involved in the malpractice will be questioned by relevant authorities.


Following the public announcement of the malpractice and after the concerned (552) students realised they did not have their marks published, some of them approached REB for explanations and advice.

A number of them accepted the blame and were advised on how they can proceed with their studies in an acceptable way. Among them were the following categories: those who went back to study in senior 3, upper secondary school and those who were eligible to register as private candidates, starting 2013.

Some of those students in the above categories have already registered for the national examinations (S3 or S6).

Most of the students in the above categories disclosed to REB staff that their colleagues who did not merit for sitting for A level national examinations in the next year or two were discouraging the rest from returning to school or seeking advice from REB and saying that they will advocate for the release of their marks for 2012 through all ways possible.

They said that they will fight until they results are released. These students include the 16 who fled the country on the pretext that they are being persecuted by their Government.


The Ministry clarified that 16 students who fled the country on the pretext that they are being persecuted by their Government did not attend studies at upper secondary school (Advanced) level.

They were therefore not eligible to register as full-time school candidates in 2012. “All registered illegally at various private high schools. 8 registered at ESSA Nyarugunga; 3 at Kabuga high school; 3 at Nyamata high school and 2 at Solidarity Academy.

Two of them sat for Ordinary level national examinations in 2011. This is merely a period of one year to when they illegally registered as Advanced level examinations candidates.

Normally, it takes a minimum of 3 years for a student who proceeds to upper secondary (S4, S5 and S6) to register for Advanced level (S6) national examinations.

The Ministry further maintains the students did not proceed to upper secondary school but (illegally) registered only one year later.

Similarly, 5 of them sat for Ordinary level national examinations in 20 IO which is just two years following their Ordinary level examinations. These also had not progressed to upper secondary school.

Four students had sat for Ordinary level examinations in 2009 and had not progressed to upper secondary school.

Similarly, two students had sat for Ordinary level examinations in 2008 and had not progressed to upper secondary school.

Some who had sat for Ordinary level national examinations in 2006 were eligible to register (in 2012) as private candidates, which they did not do.

One of them had inconsistency in names. As he claimed, records indicated different names for S4/S5 and S6. There was no evidence that this is the same person and a possibility of impersonation could not be ruled out.

He was, however, advised to seek legal services to sort out this discrepancy.

Four of these students (who sat for O-Level in 2006 and 2008) still had the eligibility to register as private candidates this year (2013) and would be encouraged to register and proceed with their education.


MUGABO Richard


HIGIRO Charles








UWERA Egidia





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