At least 156 undergraduate students failed English examination at the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, meaning they have to repeat a year.
Prof Manasse Mbonye, the college’s principal, said the decision was taken by the Academic Council in line with the rules governing promotion approved by the University Senate.
The affected students are from different departments such as Civil Engineering, and Computer Engineering.
They include 27 third year students and will repeat the academic year 2015/16 due to start in September.
The regulations say, in exceptional circumstances, a student who is otherwise qualified to progress but has failed English language module, may be permitted to progress to year two.
“However, no student will be permitted to progress beyond year two if they have not passed the English language course unit,” the regulations say.
Several students who spoke to Saturday Times on Thursday said the decision was taken in bad faith and blamed their failure on poor learning, while third-year students argued that the rules of promotion do not affect them.
A third year student in the Department of Applied Sciences in Chemistry, who scored 49 marks in English, blamed the failure on the lack of English language lecturer in the first semester.
“I am not satisfied with the implementation of new academic regulations. All was done without informing us so that we could prepare ourselves to meet the new changes,” the student, who preferred anonymity, said.
Another third year student in the Creative Design in Communication option said they were being victimised because students were not aware of the regulations regarding promotion.
The student suggested they should be promoted and prepare for another English exam without repeating the year.
But Prof Mbonye dismissed the excuses and insisted the decision affects all students.
“No excuses should be given because every student goes to school to study not to sleep. We need graduates who can have themselves. We don’t want so many degrees without impact on the community,” he said.
“Fortunately, the decision we made was not out of the blue, we did what the regulations allow us to do. We can’t go on celebrating graduations that are not fruitful. The contribution of students is awaited outside. Although graduates claim lack of employment, this shows that they cannot use their skills to be self-employed.”