Rwanda is set host to four new regional centres of excellence to provide post-graduate education relevant to the labour market as well as enable the country and the region to embrace latest trends across various sectors.
The regional centres of excellence are under the World Bank-funded African Centres of Excellence.
The centres of excellence are in the areas of Energy for Sustainable Development, Internet of Things, Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science, and Data Science.
These centres, which will be hosted in the various University of Rwanda campuses are expected to enable the country address challenges of skills gap, research capacities of higher learning institutions as well as partnership with the private sector and communities.
With fast-changing trends across various sectors in development, there have been concerns over the pace of the local higher learning institutions to supply the labour market with relevant skills.
To host the centres, Rwanda presented six proposals competing in a pool of about 109 proposals from nine countries.
The centres will produce Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) graduates relevant to the labour market needs from the region, research that is relevant to the region and work closely with the private sector to address skills and research gaps.
‘Handy for trends’
According to Prof. Nelson Ijumba, the deputy vice-chancellor for academic affairs and research at the University of Rwanda, the centres of excellence will come in handy to enable the country embrace the latest trends in fields such as energy, broadband, teaching of sciences, among others.
The cost to establish and run the centres will be met by the World Bank through a $-20 million grant in five years with funds being disbursed through a result based approach.
World Bank country manager Yasser el-Gammal said, other than the target of post graduates, the centres are expected to raise revenue for self-sustainability.
The target by the end of the grant period (2022) is $3 million.
“Collectively, these centres are expected to enroll over 3,500 students in regional development priority areas, out of which over 700 will be PhD students and more than 1,000 will be female. The centres are expected to publish 1,500 journal articles and 500 studies in collaboration with the private sector and other academic institutions within and beyond the region,” he said.
Covering the eastern Africa region, the centres are also expected to facilitate the free movement of labour and skills for the benefit of regional growth.
The skills, capacities, partnership with the private sector and research, he said are expected to sustain the rapid economic growth by addressing emerging trends in development.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Dr Celestin Ntivuguruzwa, said the centres will enable higher learning institutions in the country to respond to prevailing skills gap.
He said they would ensure that the primary, secondary and graduate programmes match with the centres of excellence levels.