China to set up skills centre in Rwanda

A delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Education on Wednesday toured IPRC Musanze. (Courtesy)

Rwanda has been named as one of the nine countries in Africa where China will establish a Luban Workshop to provide quality vocational training to local people, especially the youth.

Luban workshops are centres that offer certified skilled talents and are dedicated to cultivating students’ professionalism, and comprehensive practical ability and creativity. 

The centres were named after an ancient Chinese, Luban, who successfully dedicated his life to carpentry and inventory and transformed the lives of many people in his country.

The establishment of Luban Workshops in Africa was a pledge by Chinese President, Xi Jinping during the 2018 summit of the forum on China-Africa Cooperation that took place in Beijing.

A delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Education on Wednesday toured Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Musanze to discuss feasibility to establish the Workshop at the school.

IPRC Musanze is likely to host the facility due to existing collaboration with China in its day-to-day endeavours.

The Chinese government will be injecting $7 million in every Liban Workshop every year to boost technical and vocational education, according to officials.

Chi Yushou, the Deputy Director-General of China’s Ministry of Education explained that his government wants to initiate Luban Workshops which he said will mutually benefit all the stakeholders.

“The Luban workshop is integrated with the series of internationalization; it emphasizes collaboration between Chinese and foreign colleagues, adopts modern professional education system, emphasizes industrial participation and it cultivates local professional talents,” he explained.

He went on to say that besides Africa, China has so far established 8 Luban Workshops in different countries mainly in Asia and United Kingdom so as to share their expertise with the world.

“Multiple colleges are involved in the Luban workshops and we hope we can make the best effort in future,” he noted.

Yushou and his delegation did not specify exactly when the Luban Workshop will be introduced in Rwanda as they will have to report to their Government what they have seen on the ground for their government to plan accordingly. 

Emile Abayisenga, the Principal of IPRC Musanze said that it was partnering with China’s Zhejiang province-based Jinhua Polytechnic in skills development and as construction and expansion of IPRC Musanze were fully funded by Chinese government.

“We already have main support from China and we want to make it like a centre of excellence,” he said.

“We want to be a centre where we can teach Chinese language and culture, we also want to have a centre where our teachers and students can do some practices out of class with state of the art equipment,”

Abayisenga noted that the workshop will eventually improve the quality of education in terms of vocational education by particularly promoting entrepreneurship spirit among the young people who grapple with finding jobs after graduating.

The Chinese government has been supporting IPRC Musanze since the school was established in 2014.

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