Rwandan tertiary institutions have been urged to introduce gender studies as a new course.
During a two-day regional conference in Kigali organised by the Centre for Gender, Culture and Development (CGCD) of the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE), it was noted that experts in gender issues in the country are still few.
“The problem is that even someone who gets a three-month training in gender issues starts to consider themselves as experts in the field without having any formal university training,’’ Dr Jolly Rubagiza, Director of CGCD, said in an interview with The New Times on the sidelines of the conference.
The conference aimed at sharing knowledge, experience and expertise in specific fields of research and to build a regional network to explore how gender centres can assist and support one another.
Dr Sarah N. Ssali, a senior lecturer at the School of Gender studies, Makerere University, Uganda, said gender studies need to be nurtured to grow as a discipline.
“We need to sustain and develop gender as an academic discipline , train people in gender studies so as to have a well trained staff, and motivate students to study gender as a relevant discipline,’’ she said.
The conference, themed ‘’Sharing Best Practices of Women and Gender Studies’’, brought together participants from Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and West Indies and hosts Rwanda.
KIE’s Centre for Gender and Development was established in 2009. Last year, 37 students graduated from the centre with a master’s degree in gender and development.
Rubagiza cited insufficiency of teaching materials and online resources among the main challenges of the centre.