The University of Rwanda announced yesterday it has opened admissions process for the next academic intake, with officials saying the new system would see many reforms, ranging from admissions to financing.
The one-month admission exercise that begun yesterday will see 10,000 students admitted to various courses in the six colleges and 10 campuses under the university, a product of a merger last year.
Prospective students can visit nearby college or its campus or apply online via the University of Rwanda web site, www.ur.ac.
Admission fee is Rwf5 000.
While applying for admission, a student will have three choices: one would choose a college, a campus and academic programme.
During a media briefing at the University of Rwanda headquarter yesterday, the heads of the institution explained that criteria for admission would be two principal passes totaling 24 marks and 18 marks in Sciences and social sciences, respectively, and to have passed English and General Paper.
“We have no positive discrimination whatsoever, even female candidates and the people with disabilities are meant to fulfill these conditions. The only consideration will be a social case at College level; they should ensure inclusive education for example by putting in place decent infrastructure for the disabled,” said Prof. Nelson Ijumba, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academics and research.
Who will finance?
In the past, admission at a public university meant that a student automatically qualified for a government scholarship, but this policy was replaced by the 2008 tertiary education cost-sharing principle which changed bursaries into loans.
Today, full scholarships are only available to presidential scholar beneficiaries.
Officials at University of Rwanda said they had no mandate to handle scholarship loans, but only make sure the criteria in admitting students was adhered to.
“After a letter of acceptance expected by June, a candidate will be free to look for funding. The letter may serve them as proof while applying for a scholarship,” suggested Prof. James Mc Wha, the university vice-chancellor.
The Ministry of Education, however, has endorsed a clause that recognises social cases, where categories of the poor, under the Ubudehe scheme, would get a scholarship loan of half or full amounts accordingly.
Disbursement and recovery is so far handled by Rwanda Education Board (Reb). This, however, is a provisional mechanism.
The New Times understands that the ministry is only still waiting for a Cabinet blessing to hand scholarship matters to Rwanda Development Bank (BRD).
“We have completed technical studies and we are carrying out some final consultations; basically we are waiting for the Cabinet to approve the policy,” said Fred Mugisha, the director of policy, research and planning at the High Education Council.
Alexis Kanyankore, BRD chief executive, told this paper yesterday that “if all goes well, we shall be the ones disbursing and recovering university study loans next academic year.”
“We have set a deadline for March to have all data regarding scholarship loans so that we embark on further preparations, including talking to partners, appointing staff and making the scheme known to the public,” Kanyankore said.
Besides recovering and disbursement, BRD will spearhead a savings scheme that encourages parents to save for their children’s eduction.
“We shall handle it more than REB would do: loan giving and recovering is our day-to-day business, while for them, they used to do it besides administrative tasks,” Kanyankore suggested.
No security required
According to Kanyankore, it was decided that students will not be required to give security to obtain a loan, rather, parents or guardians will take a written undertaking to repay the loan given to their children.
A student will start to pay only after they have found employment, and, Kanyankore added, they will make sure that the candidate does not pay more than 30 per cent of their salary, other deduction (like pensions) included.
The interest rate for this loan has not yet been set.
Registration for new students is expected by late August, upon payment of Rwf 50,000 which includes a Rwf 25,000 guarantee reimbursable after graduation.