The high turnover of lecturers has forced the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences to relocate the School of Law to Kigali from Huye in the Southern Province.
The school is scheduled to complete the relocation process next year, with the new intake – slated for September - already signing up for studies in Kigali.
Over the years, UR’s Law School has produced thousands of legal professionals who have proceeded to be influential in various fields in the country.
According to officials from the law school, the decision to relocate was influenced by the rate at which members of the faculty were moving to the capital Kigali in pursuit of more pay.
In the last 5 years, close to 20 faculty have left making an average of 4 lecturers per year leaving the school.
Dr François-Xavier Kalinda, the Dean of the Huye-based Law School, says that by relocating, the students will be in better position to tap from qualified and experienced legal practitioners and institutions.
“What we are seeing today is the beginning of inevitable changes that are likely to affect the mobility of lecturers; proximity with legal institutions where students can do legal practice,” he said.
“These waves of change have already hit the School of Law and are likely to hit it harder, if we don’t devise a creative solution, which has led to the thinking of relocating the campus to Kigali,” he added.
He spoke at a meeting in Kigali, yesterday, organised by the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences to discuss new legal developments in the country.
The meeting drew government and non-government judicial institutions, partners in the areas of Justice and Law enforcement, Higher learning institutions offering law programmes, and alumni of UR-School of Law.
The rationale of relocation, according to the Dean, revolves around retention of the best academic staff and attraction of private-sponsored students to secure more funds and support for academic research activities.
Dr. Kalinda stated that at least 80 percent of the academic staff of the school had chosen to live in the capital where they can make more money compared to the salary offered by the college.
“We are also responding to the problem of students’ placements at the school level; the programme of the school is built on the modular system which consist of students-centered methodology and practice teaching methods in public judicial institutions which are located mainly in Kigali,” he added.
So far the school that has scattered departments in both Southern and Northern provinces of the country seeks to merge all into one in the City of Kigali, which has only been accommodating students in post graduate programmes.
Today, the University of Rwanda is a merger of all public universities and is still undergoing various reforms to enhance efficiency.
In his response to the contemplated plans, Prof James McWha, the University Vice Chancellor, said that change of address of the school was timely to fast-track ongoing restructuring which will see other departments relocating in the near future.
“Our students need to be exposed to the legal profession, which has been very difficult to do that while in Huye campus, it has been a bit inefficient for not having everything together,” he said.
“What we have been trying to do is rationalise the programmes between the campuses so that they are in the logical locations, for example Huye is suitable for biological sciences, social sciences; humanities and environmental studies,” he said.
He further noted that Nyagatare campus would soon receive students in the department of Agricultural, Engineering and Irrigation from Musanze campus, after the area was found to be a suitable environment for such programmes.
“The university as a whole is growing and this put other activities on the plan on top of high increase in students’ admission which is putting a lot of pressure on available resources,” he added.
Of late the College of Education in Rukara was also merged with the Kigali College of Education campus, of which premises will be used for weekend short courses and open learning centers.
The premises will be used as satellite learning centers for residents seeking to take up part-time or evening courses and who live and work in such areas.