[PHOTOS & VIDEO] Education means responsibility, President Kagame tells fresh graduates

University graduates are better equipped to deal with life challenges and should join other members of society in working hard to contribute to the country’s development, President Paul Kagame said.
President Kagame and government and University of Rwanda officials during the varsity's third graduation ceremony at the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali yesterday. / Village Urugwiro.
President Kagame and government and University of Rwanda officials during the varsity's third graduation ceremony at the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali yesterday. / Village Urugwiro.

University graduates are better equipped to deal with life challenges and should join other members of society in working hard to contribute to the country’s development, President Paul Kagame said.

Education minister Papius Musafiri speaks at the graduation ceremony yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

The Head of State delivered the message yesterday to thousands of graduates from University of Rwanda (UR) who were conferred degrees in a graduation ceremony held at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali.

University of Rwanda's Vice-Chancellor Philip Cotton addresses the fresh graduates and well-wishers at the varsity's third graduation ceremony in Kigali yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
Siméon Sebatukura, a PhD graduate and lecturer in clinical psychology at UR’s College of Medicine and Health Science, chats with Mike O'Neal, Chancellor of the University of Rwanda. / Timothy Kisambira

A total of 8,500 students who graduated from all the university’s six colleges this year gathered at the stadium for the event, clad in their gowns and accompanied by their parents, families, and friends.

The colourful event marked the first time University of Rwanda held a combined graduation ceremony for all its seven constituent colleges. / Village Urugwiro

Speaking in Kinyarwanda, Kagame welcomed the new graduates back to their communities and urged them to work hard to solve any challenges they will find in their communities.


“You are now joining your parents as partners to work side by side to build our country. I call on you to uphold the right values, work hard for yourselves, your families and your nation,” he said.

The university is a result of a merger that saw several public tertiary institutions merged to form the University of Rwanda about three years ago. / Village Urugwiro
Graduates cheered as they celebrated the day. / Village Urugwiro

This was the university’s third graduation since it was created in 2013 through a merger of seven public universities and institutions of higher learning.

The event was characterised by ceremonial processions that preceded the conferment of degrees to the more than 8500 graduates. / Village Urugwiro
Some graduates celebrate their achievement. / Village Urugwiro

The graduates were released to a tough job market in the country, with official statistics showing that unemployment rate stands at 13.5 per cent among college graduates.

The graduation ceremony is the biggest to be held in the country, having involved more than 8,500 graduands. / Village Urugwiro
Some graduands raise their right hand as they took the oath yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

Kagame encouraged them to face the market with a sense of readiness to compete for the jobs that are available in the country and elsewhere around the world while also aiming to create their own jobs.

Members of the faculty in a procession at the opening of the colourful ceremony at the Amahoro National Stadium. / Village Urugwiro
The graduates were urged to make the most of the skills acquired to impact their communities. / Village Urugwiro

“Graduation does not mean life gets easier. Challenges ahead are what your education prepared you to face,” he told them.

The event was held at the Amahoro National Stadium in Gasabo District, Kigali. / Village Urugwiro
The ceremony was an occasion to remind graduates in the country not to become perpetual job-seekers but to be innovative with view to creating jobs for themselves and others. / Village Urugwiro

He emphasised the importance of education, describing it as a key solution for the country’s challenges and a requirement for its development as it helps produce responsible citizens.

Traditional Amaraba dancers perform at the ceremony. / Village Urugwiro
The graduation ceremony was held at a time the country is seeking to bolster efforts to become a knowledge-based economy. / Village Urugwiro

“Education means responsibility. The progress of our country can only be founded on the skills and education of its people,” he said.

Intore dancers entertain guests at the graduation ceremony. / Village Urugwiro
Graduands hold a copy of yesterday's edition of The New Times while taking oath. / Village Urugwiro

Many students who graduated yesterday have already embraced the idea of job creation instead of waiting for an indefinite time to land a job through applications.

A cross section of the fresh graduates takes the oath during the event. / Village Urugwiro
A parent smiles as she receives a copy of The New Times on her arrival at Amahoro National Stadium for the graduation ceremony. / Timothy Kisambira

“My goal is to be able to implement what I learned in school. There are so many jobless people out there but my hope is to start something and improve my life. We shouldn’t care too much about applying for jobs; we need to seek capital and create our own jobs,” said 23-year-old Christine Uwayo who studied irrigation and drainage.

It was all smiles as thousands of students from all the seven colleges of the University of Rwanda came together to celebrate their achievements. / Village Urugwiro
Graduates share a light moment at Amahoro National Stadium. / Timothy Kisambira

Though she has specialised in irrigation and drainage, she told The New Times that she won’t wait for a job in that area because she has to start working as soon as possible.

The graduation was the first that brought together graduands from all the seven constituent colleges of the University of Rwanda in a single ceremony since the varsity's establishment some three years ago.
A graduate from UR's College of Education celebrates after he was conferred upon his degree. / Timothy Kisambira

Instead, she hopes to start selling her services on a full-time basis at a poultry farm in Gakenke District, Northern Province, where she had been doing internships and part time jobs in the area of animal production during her time in school.

Some of the graduates pose for the camera at the event. / Village Urugwiro
Graduates pose for a photo after the graduation ceremony at Amahoro Stadium. / Timothy Kisambira

Donat Habiyaremye, a 42-year-old primary school teacher who acquired a diploma in education, advised fellow former students to serve their communities with confidence as a result of what they learned at the university.

Thousands of well-wishers, including parents and family members, turned up for the event. / Village Urugwiro
Professor Phillip Cotton, Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda, delivers his keynote address during the graduation ceremony. / Timothy Kisambira

The UR’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Philip Cotton, promised Rwandans that the university community will continue to make the institution better through academic excellence.


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