Students at the University of Rwanda’s College of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine have decried lack of adequate laboratories and poor infrastructure, which is hindering the quality of education.
According, to students and staff, the College is finding it difficult to efficiently conduct regular practical learning.
“Most of the time, we offer theoretical lessons because of inadequate laboratories, this affects the quality of education… we need modern laboratory equipment,” said Prof Anastase Kimonyo, a lecturer of food science at the College. Over 3,000 students are affected, according to the officials.
The issue was raised on Tuesday as officials from the Ministry of Education toured the college’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, located in Busogo, Musanze District, one of the three schools that make up the college.
The tour is part of the campaign on quality education enhancement awareness, which seeks to discuss issues affecting quality education and seek remedies to ensure sustainable quality education at all levels.
Besides the Busogo campus, other schools that are part of the college are; the School of Agriculture Engineering and the School of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine located in Nyagatare and Huye districts respectively.
Augustine Cyiza one of students said the issue of poor laboratories should be addressed urgently because it affects their learning process.
He said that following the recent restructuring, which saw them shifted from the UR’s College of Sciences and Technology, they expected to get modern equipment.
“We need well equipped laboratories because almost all our courses require regular practice to acquire hands on skills,” he said
The students and their lecturers also said that the infrastructure housing the laboratories is not ideal for lab equipment hence exposing them to dangers such as exposure to chemicals used in laboratories.
Vincent de Paul Bigirimana, a lecturer in crop production said that ill equipped laboratories not only affect the quality of education, but also stifles efforts in conducting good research among dons.
“Laboratories should be used to do research but they are not sufficient and the varsity does not provide funds for research, the school should be conducting research that can hugely impact the community but we are not doing it due to low capacity,” said Bigirimana.
There is still hope
However, government officials and college leaders reiterated their commitment to support the education sector to improve quality by improving infrastructure while addressing other issues.
According to Dr. Laetitia Nyinawamwiza, the principal of the college, the issue of inadequate laboratory and poor infrastructure is known and efforts are being put in to address it.
She said this would require more funds and they have appealed to the government for support.
“We have been discussing the issue of poor laboratories and infrastructure and we have gone beyond discussing to get it solved. We did the action plan showing how we can build standardized laboratories,” she said
She added that equipment from other colleges was being installed so that students can conduct basic practice as they wait to get modern infrastructure.
She noted that if all goes well, the college would get new infrastructure by the end of next year without specifying the amount of money needed to set up that infrastructure.
While launching the campaign on quality education last Friday, the Prime Minister Édouard Ngirenge said that the government will do all it can to improve infrastructure for schools to ensure that students in all levels learn well and acquire quality education needed to drive the country to a knowledge based economy.