A total of 452,053 candidates from across the country are due to sit their national examinations over a period spanning six weeks, from June 14 through July 30, according to the National Examinations and Schools Inspection Authority (NESA).
This will be the first time national exams are held in two years after schools were closed and national examinations called off last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Up to 254,678 candidates (138,065 girls and 116,613 boys) will write primary leaving examinations, representing a drop of 11 per cent from the 2019 candidates (286,087).
In O-Level, 122,320 students (67,685 girls and 54,635 boys) will sit exams, representing an increase of 2 per cent from the 2019 numbers when 119,932 candidates wrote their exams.
There was also an increase in the number of A-Level candidates, equivalent to 1.7 per cent, up to 52,145 (26,892 girls and 22,894 boys) from 52,291 in 2019. There was, however, a decline in science candidates from 15,251 in 2019 to 14,785, representing a difference of 3.1%.
Under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, 21,053 students will sit their national exams, comprising 9,916 girls and 12,994 boys. In TVET, there was an increase in the number of candidates, with 19,862 students writing their final papers last time around.
In addition, a total of 1,857 private candidates will sit S.6 exams, up from 1584 candidates in 2019.
TVET practical examinations will be the first to be conducted, from June 14-July 3.
For primary candidates, NESA has allocated 1018 examination centres nationwide, 0-Level exams will be held at 547 centres, A-Level 418 centres, and TVET 97 centres.
Asked about the staggering drop in primary school candidates, with 31,409 fewer pupils set to do national exams this year compared to 2019, Bernard Bahati, director-general, NESA, attributed this to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After the schools reopened some students didn’t report back immediately, some are even still coming in now. We think it’s probably due to the fact that schools closed for a bit of time,” he told The New Times from his office in Remera on Wednesday, June 9.
Primary candidates are due to sit their exams from July 12-14, O-Level, A-Level (theory) and TVET (theory) from July 20-27, and A-Level (science practicals) July 28-30.
Francine Uwamahoro, 19, a Senior Six candidate at Groupe Scolaire Catholique Ndera, said the pandemic will “obviously have had an impact” on student readiness for the upcoming national exams but added that she was confident.
“I think we will be ready,” said the EKK (English, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili) section student.