On Friday, November 18, at Nyagatare stadium in Eastern province, 5,702 students from six colleges of University of Rwanda were awarded with their degree certificates and transcripts immediately after graduating. The 8th graduation ceremony was graced by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente. Among the 5,702 graduates, 25 of them were awarded PhD, 628 were awarded with Master’s Degree, and four with Post Graduate Diploma, while 4, 717 got Bachelor’s degree while 96 and 1,980 were got advanced Diplomas and diplomas respectively. Degrees for this year were conferred by Patricia Campbell, University of Rwanda Chancellor. Patricia also used virtual technology to commend graduates for having succeeded in completing their course of study to make their families, friends, faculty and mentors proud of their accomplishments. The College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR-CASS) graduated 406 students. Of these 275 are male and 131 graduates are female. At least 363 graduates (248 male and 115 female) got Bachelors’ degree and 43 (27 male and 16 female) got Masters’ degree from this college. “Now that you have graduated, we expect you to go back and serve, be part of a solution to your societal challenges,” Dr Alphonse Muleefu, the principal of UR-CASS advised the graduates. College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary medicine (UR-CAVM) graduated 691 students. These include 277 female graduates and 414 male graduates. Of the total 691 graduates female), 36 graduates (six female and 30 male) got masters’ degrees and 655 (384 male and 271) got Bachelors’ degrees. Of the 739 graduates from College of Business and Economics (UR-CBE), 342 are male and 397 are female. These include 693 (319 male and 374 female) who got Bachelors’ degrees, 44 (22 male and 22 female) who got Masters’ degrees and two (one male and one female) who got PhD degrees. “The world is going through a tumultuous period, and humanity is besieged by calamities of a magnitude unseen by previous generations. Our glory of success is toil to secure food security and sovereignty, all while preserving the environment, social equity and cohesion,” said Dr Guillaume Nyagatare, the Principal of UR-CAVM. In College of Medicine and Health Sciences (UR-CMHs), 923 students (343 female and 580 male) graduated and 96 (36 female and 60 male) of them got Advanced Diploma while 649 (242 female and 407 male) got Bachelors’ degrees as 174 (111 male and 63 female) got Masters’ degrees. Four (two female and two males students) graduated with PhD degrees. In a message to the graduates, Associate Professor Jeanne Kagwiza, the principal of CMHS said: “We encourage you to uphold high professional and ethical values, have a caring and positive attitude to your clients, passion to serve and gain trust among the general population that is highly expecting quality services from you.” In College of Education, the 1,734 graduates (669 female and 1065 male) include 190 (111 male and 79 female) who got diploma, 1,336 (826 male and 510 female) who got Bachelors’ degrees, two (one female and one male) who got postgraduate diploma, 42 (11 male and 31 male) awarded with postgraduate certificates, 160 (113 male and 47 female) with Masters’ degrees and four (3 male and one female) who got PhD degrees. “Your mission is now to fully engage with the society as active members to contribute in the areas where you have specialized. The knowledge, skills and competencies that you acquired during your learning journey constitute an impetus for socio-economic transformation of our country, the region and beyond,” Dr Florien Nsanganwimana, College of Education principal told the graduates. The college of science and technology (UR-CST) graduated 1,209 of whom 352 graduates are female. In this college, 1,021 (719 male and 302 female) were awarded Bachelors’ degrees, two were awarded with postgraduate diplomas, 171 (123 male and 48 female) got Masters’ degrees and 15 (13 male and 2 female) got PhD degrees. “Our expectation is the knowledge and skills acquired during their studies at UR-CST contribute to supporting them become trustworthy agents of change and drivers of transformation everywhere they will be,” said Dr Ignace Gatare, the principal of UR-CST. “Most of you are young women and men who just finished climbing the first footsteps of your academic careers. You can only continue to grow from here and UR desires to remain your committed partner in hiking even further up your different academic ladders. The expectation from the world is such that each one of you will now have improved capacity to solve problems and turn situations around,” said Dr Didas Kayihura Muganga, the Acting Vice-Chancellor for the University of Rwanda. Transform communities Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente urged the graduates to transform lives in their communities using skills and knowledge they have gained. “I am confident that you have been well prepared and equipped with relevant skills, knowledge and values for the life ahead. It is now your time to impact and transform lives in your communities. Be agents of positive change by upholding the ethical values acquired from this University,” he said. “As the future public servants and private sector employees, we expect you to contribute to the national development. To achieve this, you must uphold integrity and other ethical values. I urge you to desist from indulging in unethical behaviors that can ruin your careers,” he added. He thanked all the academic staff for guiding our students through their studies, research and for providing appropriate skills and necessary mentorship. “On this important occasion on the University of Rwanda’s calendar, it is a good opportunity to celebrate the achievements made by the University of Rwanda towards improving the quality of education. We are happy to hear that 155 students from 21 countries across the globe are graduating today. This is a testament that the University of Rwanda has strengthened its capacity to even attract international students,” Ngirente said. Best performers awarded The best performing graduates in first class honours include Shadia Uwase with Bachelor’s degree in animal production, Bosco Iyakaremye (law), Inkindi Mutoni (electronics and telecommunication engineering), Isingizwe Uwase (information systems) and Liza Nshuti with degree in quantity surveying. They best performers in Second Class Honours, Upper Division include Protais Utabazi (bachelor of science in accounting) and Etienne Akimana with degree in science and mathematics education,. There are also Mathias Munyabugingo with advanced diploma in midwifery, Reverien Interayamahanga With Master Of Social Sciences In Gender And Development , Boris Mikwa with Master Of Science In Data Science (Data Mining), Emmanuel Munyampundu with Master Of Science In Agricultural Engineering: Soil And Water Engineering, Gerard Tuyizere with degree physics education, Marie Louise Mukamuhirwa with Master Of Science In Animal Production, Schadrack Ntirenganya with Master Of Medicine In Psychiatry and Kossi Kety with MSc in Physics (Condensed Matter Physics). They were recognized with scholarships for further studies from Bachelor’s degree to Master’s degree and from Master’s degree to PhD degrees. They will also receive a laptop each from the University of Rwanda. Other partners who provided prizes to the best performing graduates include Rwanda Mountain Tea which provided four laptops, Catholic Relief Service offered one laptop and one paid internship, Enteprise-Urwibutso by Sina Gerard provided one laptop and one paid internship, Veterinaries without borders offered a laptop and Africa Improved Foods also provided laptop. There are also Rwanda Allied Health professionals which provided license fee waiver for 11 graduates; SOS provided 10 smart phones. Others who offered prizes include Rwanda Association of Environmental Health, Caraes Ndera, Prime Cement Company and ILDP. Among the graduates include Olivier Hirwa who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architectural design. He told The New Times that it would be tiresome to travel back to their respective colleges for degrees saying that walking away with their respective certificates is a great opportunity as they join the labour market. “I am having my degree with me today, the same day I graduate. I am now able to apply for jobs if I wish to, which wasn’t the case for previous grandaunts,” he said. “We are ready to transform the construction sector using our gained skills and resources,” Hirwa said. Previously, a former student had to wait for some time after graduating to get their certificate. The delays were previously caused by students who pay for all the necessary requirements at the last minute and others who fail to complete their payments. Another graduate who studied veterinary medicine, Theodete Uwantege, said she is happy going back with her certificate and transcripts the same day she graduated. “I have friends who missed out on employment opportunities because they did not have their academic papers,” she said. Uwantege also seeks to create job using acquired skills at the university. “I am looking for a pig and poultry rearing project and I have started,” she said. Emmanuel Hategekimana, another graduate, said that he is ready to tap into challenges and address animal feed issues. Joas Iradukunda who studied animal production said he has a project to turn waste (fats) from pig slaughtering into soaps.