Members of the Lower House last week passed a draft law governing University of Rwanda which officials from the Ministry of Education say will increase its autonomy.
The law, presented by the State Minister for TVET, Olivier Rwamukwaya, seeks to make University of Rwanda more autonomous and gives more powers to its colleges. It will also give the varsity a degree of autonomy in management of human and financial resources.
“Under the current law, the UR functioning was centralised and its colleges could not independently make decisions regarding their own management and had no rights to manage resources. The entire functioning is centralised, which affected efficiency,” he told parliament.
Rwamukwaya added that even to reduce or increase the number of colleges, required having to come to parliament to seek permission but the new law is flexible where, in case it finds it necessary, the management of the university will make its own decisions.
The government had early last year withdrawn a draft law establishing the University of Rwanda (UR), determining its mission, powers, organisation and functioning saying it needed further polishing to ensure flexibility and remove contradictions with existing laws.
Article 4 of the law establishing the UR provides that the College Principal is appointed by a Presidential Order, while the modalities for appointing other heads of organs within a college are determined by a Prime Minister’s Order.
To enhance the UR autonomy in appointing its authorities, the draft law provides that the College Principal will be appointed by the University Council; the latter also determines the modalities of appointment of other heads of organ within a college.
In order to enhance the autonomy of the structure of the university organs, the new draft law replaces the Board of Governors with the University Council. A new organ named the Senior Management Committee has also been established.
“The new law also gives powers to the Senior Management Committee of the university to make various decisions that affect the institution without getting back to central government. This will empower the university to lay down strategies on how to internally generate resources to complement what they are allocated by the government,” Rwamukwaya noted.
The University of Rwanda was established five years ago through the merger of seven public institutions of higher learning to form six colleges.
The merged institutions were; the National University of Rwanda (NUR) which was the largest public institution of higher learning with over 11,000 students; Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Kigali Institute of Education (KIE), the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE), the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), and Umutara Polytechnic.
The new colleges are the College of Education, College of Science and Technology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Business and Economics, College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, and College of Medicine and Health Sciences.