HUYE - The Rector of the National University of Rwanda, (NUR) Professor Silas Lwakabamba will effective November this year chair the Inter-University Council of East Africa, the Secretary General of the East African Community has revealed.
Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, who is on a familiarisation tour of Rwandan military facilities, disclosed this last Friday, during a visit to NUR, where he toured various centres and faculties.
“The purpose of my visit is to know what the university is doing, its challenges, so that together as universities in the region, be able to respond to these new challenges and move forward in getting our young people to have better education and skills that will enable them to participate more effectively in the new economy,” he said.
Mwapachu, who ends his term in April next year said that he is convinced that Prof Lwakabamba will bring “a breath of new air” into this very important organisation.
“We are moving into a very critical stage in our integration in the EAC with the common market, which means that we are opening up a much bigger economic as well as social space part of which will of course involve the education sector,” he said.
“We are talking about free movement of labour which really means what kind of people are we training, what kind of skill levels will have relevance to a bigger economic community which is challenged by the new economy and new ways of delivering education.”
He added that universities in the region, on the basis of economies of scale, have to find the best ways of delivering education to a broader spectrum and greater numbers of young people in the region.
“We really need to do this together, not as national states, but as an East African Community,” he said.
He said that universities in the region should look into ideas on how best they can integrate higher education so that they don’t move in parallel but have convergence in approaches in education systems.
“There are some commonalities that we need to optimise upon so that when we produce somebody from this University, Makerere, Nairobi or Dar es Salaam, we are really producing an East African graduate, someone who has deep sensitivity about the region and what the region can play to improve the quality of life of the people in the region,” the EAC Secretary General said.
Professor Lwakabamba, said that NUR now charges uniform fees for all students from the EAC member countries.