Next academic year, the government will increase its financial allocation to the University of Rwanda (UR) by 40%, bringing the total to Rwf 36 billion.
The university has seen a lot of restructuring in the last few years, independent state universities were merged into one and campuses relocated. This brought about a lot of logistical nightmares that the institution is still grappling with to date.
All those issues compounded the quality of education dished out by the school with students being the first victims. Building a strong, relevant and world class institution that will be able to hold its own among its international peers will need a lot of money.
The government’s contribution, however significant, will not solve all issues. It is time for UR to go back on the drawing board to come up with new sources of finance. Solely depending on the government is paralyzing in the long run. So UR will have to get creative.
There has always been talk of turning research at the university into a cash cow, but how will it go about it? Aspiring is a noble thing but drawing clear and concrete policies the safest bet. The first step is for the university to stop being an island where the outside world – even its alumni – are never part of what is happening there.
Former students – for example – who are now occupying influential positions in the government and private sector could pitch in by commissioning relevant research instead of importing researchers. Charity, as they say, begins at home and UR should look no further than that.