Technical schools wary of course mergers
Technical students and teachers have criticized a recent decision by the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), to merge certain courses.
The students complain that WDA has established a new time table for 2012 National exams indicating a merger of some subjects initially examined as individual papers.
Bernard Muhirwa, a Senior Six automotive mechanics student at ETO Muhima, cited the merger of Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Transmission which he said are not related in nature and weight.
“Doing any of the subjects in three hours is difficult enough, now imagine combining the three,” he noted.
Another student at Kigali Catering School (a private candidate school) said on condition of anonymity that it would be difficult for a student to pass French, English, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda if set as one paper.
“I wonder how the exam will be set and the time that will be allocated to it,” she said, wondering whether WDA considered the weight of the subjects before coming up with the decision.
Jean Bosco Nshimiyimana, a Senior Six general mechanics student at ETO Muhima complained that even the study hours allocated to language lessons were not enough.
“I think it is not clear. It’s like we didn’t study French. We study entrepreneurship for only one hour in S6, we may be asked what we do not know, not that we are not intelligent, but because we haven’t been taught well,” he said.
“If they want us to sit for French exams, they should increase the period of study and separate it from English and entrepreneurship,” stated Boniface Bizimana, a Senior 6 electricity student at ETO Muhima.
Eric Rusingiza, a teacher at ETAK, teaches transmission and electricity.
He said it was difficult for students to read more than five lesson books of the three subjects (Hydraulics, Pneumatic and Transmission) , and pass one combined exam.
“They will not get time to read. It’s confusing, every lesson is very long, this can reduce the rate of success,” said Rusingiza.
“It is stressing the student as well as the teachers”.
Theodore Habimana, Director of TVET in WDA, explained that they have combined the lessons to be more specific and avoid duplication.
“Sometimes the same lessons had different names. We made it clear so that every lesson will be understandable so as to avoid confusion,” said Habimana.
He noted that entrepreneurship was combined with languages because it requires language skills.
“An entrepreneur should know how to make a business plan, he or she needs to understand languages, it is the reason we combined it with languages,” he said.
Habimana allayed students’ fears, saying the weight of the specific subjects will not be affected and each will be graded according to its value.
“We combined the lessons but we still recognise the value of each subject, so each of them will be graded accordingly,” he explained.