New film school to empower girls

A young Rwandan film enthusiast, Jean-Claude Niyibizi, has opened a new school in Kigali - MOPAS Film Academy - with the aim of increasing the number of girls who pursue careers in information and communication technology (ICT).
Students during a learning session at MOPAS Film Academy recently. /  Julius Bizimungu
Students during a learning session at MOPAS Film Academy recently. / Julius Bizimungu

A young Rwandan film enthusiast, Jean-Claude Niyibizi, has opened a new school in Kigali - MOPAS Film Academy - with the aim of increasing the number of girls who pursue careers in information and communication technology (ICT).

With eight years experience in the industry, Niyibizi hopes he will use the school as a cornerstone to bridge the skills gap and produce professionals who will be able to change the way the industry currently works, and, most importantly, raise the number of girls who enrol in ICT-related careers.

 
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Jean-Claude Niyibizi

“We have been doing all kinds of video production for the last eight years but we came to realise that there are very few people who can do quality production in this country, to the extent that we need to hire people from abroad. We, therefore, came up with MOPAS Film Academy as part of other innovative solutions to create platforms that will enable accumulation of skills among people in our country. We don’t want to keep hiring people from outside yet our government has invested a lot in vocational trainings and ICT in general,” he said.

 

Students at the academy will go through three months of professional training in fields like camera operation and editing, photography, video production and motion graphics, after which they will be rewarded with a Workforce Development Authority certificate.

 

“We have formal partnerships with different public and private institutions and we shall be helping our students to get internships and even employment,” said Niyibizi.

Why focus on girls?

“We want to encourage young women and girls to enrol in this field as there’s a lot that has not been tapped into, but also to change the stereotypes that our societies have regarding certain professions,” Niyibizi explained.

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Greenscreen Studio is one of other standardised equpiment that students practice at MOPAS Film Academy. / Julius Bizimungu

Pamella Mugisha, a student pursuing film production, said she joined the new school to make her dreams come true and encourage other girls to pursue such courses.

“I studied literature in high school and tourism at the university. However, I realised that I would have to wait for many years to get employed. I decided to venture into film production. It pays off and I believe girls should come out of their comfort zones,” she said.

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