[Editorial] Strong alumni-partnerships is the way to go for universities

THE University of Rwanda (UR) is set to start fundraising campaigns among the alumni to deal with shortage of funds.

The university’s state budgetary allocation was cut by 50 per cent from about Rwf26 billion in 2013 to about Rwf13 billion in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

For a long time the world over, public Universities solely relied on state funding. However, experience has showed that states have not been able to fund their universities at levels sufficiently generous to allow them to compete globally.

What the University of Rwanda has embarked on is a step in the right direction because it is through innovative ways that the university will be able to address the critical challenge of shortage of funds.

And indeed, the university is not re-inventing the wheel because public universities the world over have moved away from over reliance on government funding and resorted to innovative ways of raising funds through strong alumni-partnerships, among other measures. There are many examples of universities that are exemplary at raising funds.

Going forward, UR should put in place investment policies to help generate revenue internally.

Also, a modern tradition of private philanthropy should be cultivated through strengthening alumni partnerships, and using all resources at the disposal of the university to generate funds.

With over 80,000 alumni, bringing them closer to the mother institution will help in raising the needed resources.

If this number is mobilized, alongside other innovative revenue making avenues, University of Rwanda will operate better and in a sustainable manner.

Also, the alumni should heed the call and join hands to support the university which trained them. Waiting for state funds will never be enough to meet the challenges of public universities.

Other universities in the country should follow suit and closely engage their alumni because these challenges are not unique to UR.