I wish to respond to NUR Rector Prof. Manasseh Mbonye’s article, “Facts about the NUR Bookshop closure”, published in The New Times of September 18.
Like anyone else who cares about Rwandan education, I was personally saddened by that action. It is always a mistake to do anything that would hurt education. To me, it does not matter how expensive education might be; education is way more important than money.
Bok Derek once said that “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. With respect to the fact that the bookshop was registering incredible losses I am still opposed to its closure. Instead, there should have been serious measures to prevent or at least minimize those losses.
Rwanda is a poor country, our institutions struggle with finances, but we can’t get to where we want to be if we do not sacrifice the little we have for education. Maybe there could have been just one student flipping a book from the closed bookshop and have a billion dollar invention or ideas.
We never know what education can do. My hope is that the National University of Rwanda will consider reopening the bookshop. Maybe there was mismanagement due to unskilled personnel, maybe you were employing more workers than needed, maybe you could reduce on the number of hours you were operating if there are not many people coming in, and maybe you could increase prices and/or quality of books and other things at the bookshop.
I am positive that there could have been a better way out.
Jean-Léon Iragena, United States
I wish to thank Prof. Manasseh Mbonye but many thanks go to Mr Stephen Mugisha whose article helped the public to hear from the rector. Whether the bookshop was making profits or losses, the decision to close it was supposed to be communicated to the public who were benefiting from it.
About the persistent losses encountered by the bookshop and NUR’s decision to close it, I am wondering why the Professor isn’t telling the public if NUR is making profits (not profit oriented anyway) since the closure of the bookshop.
Professor, we have to adapt the culture of accountability. Let the public know what your plans (UNR) are and then be an obligation for NUR to let the public aware of your activities and achievements i.e. (budget vs. actual).
Because of the public’s worries and NUR’s less concern to communicate, there will always be such articles in newspapers.
Professor, we wish to hear from you next time communicating through the right channels and that should be a wakeup call for other higher learning institutions also (not only government-sponsored).