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Stringent conditions for higher education sector

Christian University of Rwanda is among three universities that were permanently closed over failure to fulfil accreditation requirements. File

A series of tough requirements will soon be imposed on all higher learning institutions and investors in the sector in order to ensure the quality education is not compromised, the Higher Education Council has announced.

Appearing on local radio stations, the Director-General of the Higher Education Council (HEC), Dr Rose Mukankomeje, explained that the move is informed by the recent inspection carried out by her institution.

 

“We are soon releasing regulatory requirements which people who want to start private universities and even those already in operation, must adhere to. The regulatory framework will be much stricter to avoid past mistakes,” Mukankomeje said.

 

Additionally, you find proprietors of the university expecting to pay lecturers salaries on loans or student tuition, she stated.

 

That, she added, means that if students do not pay, teachers and other staff will not be paid, a mistake that the government does not see happening again.

The development comes after the Ministry of Education closed three private universities due to what it said were administrative challenges that compromised the quality of education.

According to HEC, the proposed decisions will be tough but will be aimed at improving the quality of education.

Mukankomeje pointed out that among the regulations to be implemented is to compel private investors to use equity financing as opposed to bank loans to open up private universities.

In addition, private universities will be required to operate from their own facilities without renting the building.

Other strict decisions include requiring an investor to present a sustainable financial capacity plan to pay staff for a given period without entirely depending on loans and student tuition before they are permitted to establish a private university.

“A university depending entirely on student tuition or loan risks a financial crisis when students are few or don’t pay on time. These are some of the mistakes committed by the closed universities,” Mukankomeje said.

According to sources, all higher learning institutions in the country have until August 15 to submit proof of their financial sustainability to the Higher Education Council (HEC) or risk closure.

“We are also planning to recruit more staff to strengthen the inspection process of universities. These new inspection rules will have zero tolerance of lack of fulfilment of requirements. We have learned from previous mistakes,” Dr Mukankomeje said.

“There has been a lot of misunderstandings in the closed universities, owners interfere in the administration and accountant departments, they take out the money paid by students and refuse to buy basic academic requirements needed at school,” Dr Theoneste Ndikubwimana, Head of academic quality, accreditation and standards at HEC said.

“For example, INATEK has been offering science courses, but the owners had refused buying materials for the laboratory,” she added. “Such disagreements were realized in INATEK and Christian University of Rwanda, owners kept getting out cash than what they reinvest, that’s when the institutions started crippling.”

Christian University of Rwanda and Indangaburezi College of education were this month closed for alleged administrative challenges that compromised the quality of education.

The closed Universities followed the University of Kibungo (UNIK) formerly Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Education of Kibungo (INATEK) which was also closed on June 30, 2020, for the same alleged mistakes, mainly administrative challenges.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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