HUYE - The National University of Rwanda (NUR) held its eleventh graduation ceremony yesterday with 1452 graduates being awarded Master’s and Bachelors degrees, and Diploma’s in different academic disciplines.
Male students dominated their female colleagues for top academic honours with Koya Rufali obtaining a first class Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.
Pascal Maniraho obtained a first class Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science while Jeanne Karera obtained a first class diploma in secretarial studies.
The eleventh graduation of NUR saw an increase in the number of Master’s degrees awarded at the 46 year old university, the oldest in the country.
A total of forty-seven Master’s degrees were awarded in different disciplines majority of whom are science based.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Education Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, who is also the Chancellor of the University commended the NUR staff and students for achievements attained over the years but challenged them to think of new ways of reaching out to many Rwandans who want to access university education.
Dr Gahakwa said that higher institutions of learning in the country can only accommodate one percent of the total number of students who qualify every year.
“You should erase the thinking that university education has to be attained on full time basis. You should develop new approaches like ‘blended learning’ which enables face-to-face teaching and learning sessions and the use of information and communication technology as a tool for learning and teaching,” said Gahakwa.
The Minister expressed her satisfaction with the student-centred system of learning at the university and the re-validation exercise of academic programmes to face current challenges.
She urged the institution’s authorities to scale up its Master’s degree programmes to ensure that students are not required to go abroad.
“Our experience has been that most of the students sent abroad to pursue different Master’s programmes do not return while few opt to enrol for PhD programmes. You will save the country a lot of money by offering some of these programmes here,” she said.
As is the practice, Gahakwa announced that Presidential scholarships would be available to all students who obtained first class degrees.
Telecommunication Company Rwandatel also awarded prizes to top performers. The package included a Dell Lap top computer fully equipped with wireless internet connection and free airtime.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman of the NUR Board of Directors, Dr Theogene Rutagwenda said that a versatile education sector is important for the achievement of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy EDPRS.
He commended the role by the Butare based university in the country’s development through filling the much needed human resource gap.
NUR Rector Prof Silas Lwakabamba said that the University has continued to adopt new approaches in teaching and learning, saying that they are working on increasing the number of programmes offered at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Academic staff who excelled in their work at the university were recognised during the ceremony.
The late Dr Jean Baptiste Habyarimana who was killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was recognised for his efforts in trying to save people during the Genocide in Butare town.
Prof Faustin Rutembesa was recognised for his works on the history of Rwanda and his promotion of Rwandan values.
Meanwhile, among the graduates were three journalists of The New Times: Eugene Kwibuka and Gilbert Ndikubwayezu with a Bachelor of journalism while Sunny Ntayombya graduated with Bachelor of Law.
For the first time in the history of the 46 year old institution, graduands received their degree certificates on graduation day.