The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC-Musanze) took place Thursday at the school premises in Musanze District.
Located in the rural part of Bikara Cell in Nkotsi Sector, the new campus is part of China-aided project which they have fully financed at a tune of $16 million (approximately Rwf14bn). It will sit on 7,600 square metres.
The complex will be made of classrooms, administration offices, student hostels, multi-purpose hall, training workshops, and other functional rooms, according to officials.
The existing campus was also constructed at a tune of $14 million, also fully funded by the Chinese government in 2014.
Speaking at the ceremony, Rao Hongwei, the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda, underscored that his country supports Rwanda because the two share similarities in their development paths.
“For example, education especially in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is highly prioritised in our national development strategies,” he said.
“His Excellency President Kagame, has previously said that “education is about dignity and is the key to Rwanda’s future”, we couldn’t agree more; that’s why we attach great importance to the bilateral education cooperation,” added the envoy.
He pointed out that, besides funding the expansion of IPRC-Musanze, his government has supported the school in various ways, including setting up a technical skills development centre and a Chinese language learning centre in additional to providing training equipment and materials, valued at about $300,000.
Hongwei said that “China-Rwanda bilateral relations are at their best in history,” as both sides are working closely to implement the agreements reached by the two heads of state.
Eugene Mutimura, the Minister for Education, commended the contribution of People’s Republic of China in strengthening the education sector in Rwanda.
He particularly noted that expanding IPRC-Musanze will increase the capacity to absorb more students into TVET, which he said the country has made a priority.
“The grant for the extension of IPRC-Musanze is timely as Rwanda has started to implement the policy of increasing the number of students that go through the TVET stream compared to general education,” said Mutimura.
Government wants that, by 2024, at least 60 per cent of the students who graduate from Ordinary Level, will be joining TVET programme.
“My advice to IPRC-Musanze, is to optimise and maintain well the facilities that you are getting from the Chinese government,” he added.
Once the extension of the school is done, it will be ready to host one of the 10 ‘Luban workshops’ that Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to build across the African continent, according to officials.
Luban workshops are centres that offer certified skilled talents and are dedicated to cultivate students’ professionalism, and comprehensive practical ability and creativity.
Extension project will last 18 months. It is expected to be officially inaugurated by December 1, 2021, according to China Qiyuan Engineering Corporation (CQEC) and Chongquing International Construction Company (CICO), two Chinese firms contracted to execute the works.