Students at the National University of Rwanda who won’t finish their coursework by the end of academic year won’t get bursary money to help cover their expenses while they continue their studies, university officials charged with bursary distribution said.
Due to a lack of lecturers and delays in teaching schedules, students in several faculties will have to stay in school beyond the end of October, NUR officials said.
The affected faculties are the Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Education and the School of Journalism and Communication.
Those faculties still have an average of three courses and many exams that can’t be completed before the end of October, said Joanna Umurungi, who heads the follow up and evaluation office at NUR.
“Students in Biology may even stay until December,” said Marara Kalibana, head of the Biology Department in the Faculty of Science. Meanwhile, their bursary money will dry up.
“Students can’t get any more money after October,” confirmed Tharcisse Masekeli of the NUR office of bursary distribution.
Masekeli said that the Student Financing Agency of Rwanda gives out money to students only until the end of October, with the exception of students who are finishing their dissertations or who are doing internships related to school. Affected students said they didn’t know what they would do.
“I only depend on my monthly bursary, how am I going to live November and December if the bursary money will be over?” asked Felix Karangwa, a second-year biology student Faustin Ntakirutimana, a second-year student in the School of Journalism and Communication, blamed school officials for the problem.
“The faculty should have asked for more bursary as soon as they saw the problem,” he said.
Many students said their faculties should schedule unfinished courses for next year. But faculty representatives said doing that would interfere with the academic calendar.
“First year courses are only important for the first year and are supposed to be studied only in the first year,” said Kalibana of the Biology Department.
University officials said the class delays causing all the problems were largely due to the unpredictable schedules of visiting professors.
Roger Sapsford, director of the NUR office charged with recruiting lecturers, said the university was trying to address the situation by hiring a few new teachers and making visiting professors permanent.