KIGALI Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) wants the Masters Degree programmes offered by United Kingdom Telecommunications Academy (UKTA) transferred to other institutions because they are more of management than technology.
Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the Rector of KIST, said this during an interview with The New Times at the institution’s premises.
The courses are Master of Communications Management (MCM) and Master of Science in Operational Communications (MOC).
The programmes are aimed at broadening understanding of interdisciplinary knowledge for ICT and Telecommunications engineers and professionals.
“The programmes are not relevant with our institution’s core mission. The content of the course is management related and KIST focuses on producing technology innovators,” she said.
Mujawamariya stated that government fully finances the programmes through KIST’s budget and the degrees are offered by the institution.
“There is no single funding we get from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) or UTKA. We pay business class return tickets to fly in professors from UK and their five star hotel accommodation and allowances while in Rwanda,” she said.
She noted that the costs are a challenge to KIST yet the degree programmes are not in line with the institution’s vision.
The Rector observed that it would be welcome if the programmes are transferred to other universities like the School of Finance and Banking or the National University of Rwanda which have management courses.
Damas Rurangwa , one of the course beneficiaries, told The New Times that he benefitted a lot from the programme.
“Learning technology skills only is not enough, we also need management skills to be able to manage our firms,” he pointed out.
Rurangwa who is currently working as the head of metering at Energy Water and Sanitation Authority, is about to graduate with a masters degree in MOC.
“The programme has equipped me with management skills which I currently apply at my place of work,” he noted.
KIST has so far graduated over 150 students in MCM and MOC since 2008 and currently the programmes have about 40 students.
In an e-mail sent to The New Times this week, Prof. Steve Capewell, the vice chairman of UKTA, said that he has not been informed of KIST’s plans to do away with the programmes as he is presently working with them to review the service level agreement between both institutions.
“It is true that the MCM does not now sit well in the portfolio for KIST as this institute had the word Management removed from it a few years ago. However, as the MOC is a Master of Science Degree it sits in the correct place,” he said.
“The overall intention has always been that at the end of our service-level agreement period which ends in 2015, we will leave KIST with the capability to deliver the MOC programme without UKTA support.”
In 2005, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UKTA, and KIST, paving way for delivery of the MCM in Rwanda.
The programme was officially launched at KIST in 2006, with an initial cohort of 20 students from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The MCM programme at KIST has been externally examined by Professor Izzat Darwazeh from the University College London, and is delivered by highly qualified lecturers from the UK.