The University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology (UR) says it is planning to submit a proposal to the University Rwanda’s Senate in August 2022, to allow for introducing an academic programme in nuclear science and technology. The move, as per the institution, attempts to promote nuclear education and training, as well as assess opportunities for future cooperation between regional academic institutions. This is according to Dr Ignace Gatare, in his capacity as Principal of the College of Science and Technology at the University of Rwanda. Gatare told The New Times in an exclusive interview that a proof of concept had surpassed the college academic council level, and would soon be presented to University Senate. “We are pushing to have it for the University Senate next month (August), and this should be possible if nothing changes,” he said. Gatare also pointed out that the University Senate will be in charge of the next procedures,for the programme accreditation. Once established, Gatare believes that it will solve human resource development needs for both Rwanda and the continent, especially given the current shortage of qualified workers in nuclear science and technology. Like Rwanda, a big number of African countries rely on foreign education institutions for training in the nuclear science industry. This, experts argue, raises the cost of operation, among others. UR, through its college of medicine and health sciences, has already introduced programme in imaging science (radiology), a move Gatare thinks would lead to cultivating a critical mass of experts ready to provide services in radiotherapy. Meanwhile James Ndekezi, a researcher and aerospace enthusiast based in Kigali, thinks that bottlenecks in addressing capacity building rely on non-Africa academic institutions. Ndekezi said that African nations are able to set clear legal frameworks, policies and regulatory authorities, but there is a technology gap to tap into the nuclear sector. “If you take our education system as an example, how many students are currently enrolled in science related fields, how many are produced each year, what kind of skills do they possess?” Even after that, he added, “What kind of jobs do we have to offer on the market?” For Charles Murigande, Rwanda’s seasoned academician, there is a misconception that training should be done considering opportunities on the labour market instead of the chance to create opportunities. “Today’s era requires that we train to create jobs, not solely to deploy people in existing jobs.” Murigande was responding to concerns that there are currently few job opportunities in Rwanda’s nuclear sector. He likened the concern with a situation that occurred several years back where students refused to pick interest in Microbiology on the basis that there were no job opportunities. “But looking at all these investments in pharmaceuticals coming into the country, that was a huge misconception.” Equally important however, Murigande highlighted, is for the government to assess how big the need is. This he said would allow for accurate support, noting that nuclear and other sciences hold the key to the sustainable development of the continent. Rwanda seeks to leverage nuclear science and technology to promote economic growth and transformation mainly because nuclear is seen as a key enabler to propelling certain industries such as energy, health, security, and others. Just next month, a total of 100 Rwandans are expected to graduate in the sector. All of them were trained abroad.