The Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Murigande, on Tuesday, told Members of Parliament that the performance of Rwandan universities has been affected by the lack of adequate funding.
Murigande was appearing before the Chamber of Deputies to respond to concerns raised in a March report about problems facing tertiary institutions. The report was compiled by a parliamentary ad hoc committee.
Some of the issues raised in the report were; lack of adequate infrastructure, limited scholastic materials, and insufficient number of lecturers.
The report also highlighted a wide gap in salary scales of lecturers and cases of mismanagement.
Murigande told the lawmakers that public institutions are allocated only 22 percent of the Education Ministry’s budget.
“This (Insufficient funding) is common which at times leads to the problems you mentioned, but unfortunately, we cannot solve it at the moment,” Dr Murigande said.
He, however, added that these challenges will gradually be addressed as the country’s budget increases.
The minister, however, said that over 13 facilities are under construction in several institutions, some being funded by the Government while others by donors and the institutions themselves.
They include a building to house Faculty of Architecture and a modern national library at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), two facilities at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) and an ICT laboratory and classroom blocks at the National University of Rwanda (NUR).
In reference to brain drain, Murigande said that the ministry was planning to come up with an arrangement under which every lecturer whose education has been sponsored by Government will lecture for a specific period of time before they could have the right to search for jobs elsewhere.
He said contracts between the Government and the would-be lecturers will be signed before the latter go for their studies.
The Minister said that the salary discrepancies only occur among local, expatriate lecturers and Rectors which results from lack of qualified local personnel in some fields.
“However, local lecturers at our institutions are being given scholarships to go for further studies which will, in the long run, solve this problem,” Murigande said.
Most lawmakers said they appreciated the ministry’s efforts to solve the challenges faced by the universities.