Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has urged universities from the East African Community and students to put much emphasis on technology and Mathematics, saying that this is how they will make a much meaningful contribution towards the development of the regional bloc.
He said this at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Inter University Association of East Africa (IUCEA) held in Kigali and ends Friday.
The meeting that coincided with the body’s 10-year anniversary, attracted chancellors and vice chancellors from the regional universities, scholars, lecturers, students and government institutions.
The Prime Minister argued the university administrators to encourage students to take up technology as the future is bound to have more technological advancements and only those that will be well versed with it will survive the dynamics.
In the meeting that ran under the theme, ‘’Effectively Leading Universities In the Context of ICT and Digitalisation of Higher Education in the EAC Partner States’’, Ngirente noted that there is a breakthrough in artificial intelligence (robotics) and the advantages are visible to everyone.
“This rapidity of advance in technologies requires a proactive response from the higher educational sector. This places the need to streamline the quality of education for human resource development and curriculum review,” he said.
Meanwhile the Premier cautioned universities against admitting students that do not fulfill the minimum requirements, saying that this compromises the quality of work when they finally get into the job market.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Education Eugene Mutimura thanked the council for the good work it is doing especially when it comes to equipping more women in the region with skills in areas of technology and research.
“I want to thank the council for the work it is doing in promoting growth of technology among women who have been previously been marginalised in this field of science and technology,’’ he said.
At the same annual meeting, Prof Alfred Sife, the acting Vice Chancellor of Moshi Co-operative University from Tanzania noted how much universities from the East African Community have benefitted from the program of IUCEA.
“My university has had two staff members move to two East African countries all through the support of IUCEA. One of our lecturers has been in Rwanda teaching at University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK) whereas the other has been in Kenya,” he said in an interview with The New Times shortly after the afternoon session.
Aloys Mvuma who is the Vice Chancellor of Mbeya University of Science and Technology also from Tanzania commended the journey that IUCEA has made but cited the need for more collaboration between universities from the six countries that are member states to the EAC.
To him, failure to come up with a common understanding on some issues is one of the biggest hindrances faced by the council, which he said affects the people from the regional bloc as a whole.
“There is lack of common understanding of issues and this has for some time been the biggest challenge we are facing in the East African community, because different countries have different ways of understanding and solving their issues,” he said.
Headquartered in Uganda, the Inter University Council for East Africa brings together institutions of higher learning from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan.
It is currently headed by Rwandan academic, Prof Alexandre Lyambabaje.