Uncertainty engulfed nursing students at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Gitwe (ISPG) last week following a decision instructing them to repeat their final year to be able to sit for the national examination which, officials say, will pave way for them to be issued with their degrees.
We had budgeted for our studies and asking us to pay for an additional year would be an act of injustice and unfair
The decision was reached following discussions which lasted for months between the students, the school, the Ministry of Health and other concerned parties.
On Wednesday, last week, three meetings were held separately at the school premises and at the Southern provincial headquarters, both aimed at finding a lasting solution to the problem.
The first two meetings, first between provincial authorities and delegations from the Ministry of Health and the National Council of Nurses and Midwifery (NCNM), and then after with ISPG authorities, were held behind closed doors.
For about seven hours on Wednesday last week, authorities remained behind closed doors discussing the issue and trying to find a unanimous decision.
The meeting was chaired by the Southern Province Governor, Alphonse Munyantwali.
At that time, the affected students waited outside impatiently. Some discussed in small groups expressing fear and concerns for their fate.
Following the meeting which ended at around 2pm, the students were offered a one-week period to register.
That means they will have to return to class and repeat the year.
And this comes as a result of the infighting which started late in October when 150 nursing students, who were due to graduate with A1 degrees this year, declined to sit for a national examination which would allow them to be registered with the National High Council of Nursing and Midwifery.
At that time, the students accused the school management of informing them about the exams just a week before they were supposed to kick off. The students claim this was unfair and unacceptable since they needed time to prepare for the exams and they could not do that with just a seven days notice.
It was the first time students at the faculty of nursing sciences at ISPG were due to sit for the exam, The New Times established. The exam is a requirement before one is recognised as a nurse in Rwanda and across the region, according to NCNM officials.
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