The University of Rwanda (UR) says the 143 first year students who were granted government scholarship erroneously will be given special terms within which to pay tuition fees for themselves.
The students were scrapped from the list of those entitled to government scholarship in October.
Addressing the press yesterday, Prudence Rubingisa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance at UR, said the students had already registered and UR decided, after negotiating with Rwanda Education Board (Reb) and the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) that they should continue studying and work out modalities with the university on how they should clear their tuition.
He said privately sponsored students pay tuition in three installments, but those removed from the scholarship list will be given more conducive payment modalities.
“Some students requested to be given their registration fees back, others have started to pay portions of the Rwf600,000 tuition fees. But we have approached all of them and discussed payment modalities provided that they clear their tuition (for an academic year) by the end of the year,” he said.
“We have given them a chance to choose the payment modalities that favour them. However, in case they fail to pay the fees on time, they will still not receive their performance grades,” explained Rubingisa.
He told The New Times that a programme was being mulled to create opportunities for part time jobs for the students in question in libraries, ICT centres, labs and other activities.
“We want to employ as many of them as possible,” he said.
“They can even be employed in restaurants that serve students. They might not necessarily cook food but can serve their colleagues and earn money. There are also buildings being constructed at the (UR) colleges, they can help supervise the builders and earn money,” Rubingisa said.
He said institutions are spending a lot of money on activities that can be done by students.
This academic year, a total of 15,337 students registered at the University of Rwanda requesting government scholarship. Among them 5,886 were given scholarshipS according to Reb.
Reb officials said the 143 UR students had not obtained minimum entry grades and had only been included on the list of those who qualified for the much coveted study loan owing to a computing error.
The Minister for Education, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, said between 1995 and 1996, there were around 3,000 students in higher institutions of learning in the country compared to the current 85,000.
“The UR alone has 33,000. Out of these, 21,084 are on government sponsorship,” he said.
The minister said on top of that, 1,126 students were being supported by the government to study overseas.
He said the government also supports all students at UR, including those who are not on scholarship.
“ A total of 12,000 students are paying for themselves but pay only Rwf600,000, yet the real cost of education is Rwf1.33 million per year, which means they are only covering half of the education cost,” he said.