The University of Rwanda has launched an online post-graduate programme, Masters of Communication Management (eMCM).
The eMCM programme was launched on Tuesday by the University of Rwanda in partnership with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the UK Telecommunication Academy (UTKA).
Speaking to reporters at the launch, Dr Hamadoun Touré, executive director of Smart Africa, said the programme is an additional tool in the basket of capabilities of training that “we will be giving to our young people for Africa to become a knowledge-based economy.”
“We are here talking about eMCM; ICT is being used as a tool for education to make it better, reaching out to many more people at more affordable rates,” Toure said.
The former ITU secretary-general said the foundation of Africa’s development is going to be based on information and communication technology (ICT).
“And, therefore, we want to put emphasis on training them. That is why scholarship programme at Smart Africa is one of the most important thing and it’s cross-cutting for all the countries and we are going to train tens of thousands of young people in Africa,” Touré said.
The Masters in Communication Management preogramme was first introduced at College of Sciences and Technology (CST) in 2006, but stopped in 2009.
At the time, it was an in-person type of education. In three years, an estimated 250 people graduated from the course.
The Minister for Education, Dr Papias Malimba Musafiri, said the graduates in the programme have occupied senior leadership and management positions both public and private organisations, adding that the programme has produced wonderful men and women who contribute significantly to the growth of our country.
He said the way in which the new programme is designed marks new and flexible way for online master’s programme to be delivered with its new design and delivery mechanism providing a range of benefits.
Musafiri said the delivery mode will certainly lead to a cost reduction in terms of its operations.
“It will also provide flexibility to learners to provide for a learner-centered approach whereby students can learn at their own pace, while the system will maintain the robustness to monitor the time a student spends on the self-learner,” he said.
The minister added that the programme is the first of its kind in Africa and is targeting not only people from the industry in Rwanda, but also communication and telecommunication related industry in the region and the entire continent.
Tailored for ICT needs
UKTA Vice Chair, Prof. Steve Capewell, said the programme was designed based on the needs of ICT and telecommunications industry, which is to develop their managerial abilities.
“ICT is moving so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep pace with what is happening. So, one of the things we designed in the programme is that 50 per cent of learning is from the materials that are rightly supervised, but 50 per cent of the learning is the student learning what is new and how to apply them in the practical world,” he said.
Capewell said the previous programme was costly as using senior people from industry, bringing them to Kigali to teach the different modules is costly in terms of resources and travels and other expenses.
He said what they were able to do is to keep the fees extremely low.
“There is no other master’s programme in the world that costs $4,000 (about Rwf3 million) for the whole programme,” Capewell said, adding that the low fees will enable a lot of people to get on the programme, which was not possible in the past programme.
Prof. Manasseh Mbonye, the principal of the College of Science and Technology, said they have so far enrolled 14 students and the programme allows registration four times per year.
Normally at university, he said, when one has not done registration, they have missed the entire year.
“But this programme is different because in case of registration delay owing to lack of tuition, it does not prevent them from registering to study the next month. It is actually user-friendly,” Mbonye said.
He said the 18-month eMCM programme is more efficient having made 10 small courses into four large, distinct and independent courses.
The four 30 credit modules are legal, regulatory, policy and environment of converged society; project management for ICT; human resources for ICT and strategic management for ICT.
He said the programme is good for capacity building.