The cabinet has picked a top University of Rwanda official to be the inaugural Vice Chancellor of the recently created Rwanda Polytechnic.
Dr James Gashumba, the man put at the helm of Rwanda Polytechnic (RP), created as a result of the merger of eight Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres (IPRCs), has been the head of special projects at UR.
Gashumba was formerly the rector of the former Umutara Polytechnic, which was later merged with several other tertiary institutions to form present-day University of Rwanda.
He was appointed on Wednesday during a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame.
Also appointed are principals of six of the eight constituent colleges of RP.
They include Eng. Diogène Mulindahabi, who was retained as principal, IPRC-Kigali; Eng. Ephrem Musonera, retained as IPRC-Ngoma principal; and Eng. Pascal Gatabazi, who was transferred from IPRC-Tumba to IPRC-Karongi.
Others are Eng. Rita Clémence Mutabazi, former deputy principal for academic at IPRC-East, who replaces Eng. Gatabazi at IPRC-Tumba; Eng. Emile Abayisenga, who was appointed principal of IPRC-Musanze (a position he was serving in on interim basis until Wednesday); and Richard Nasasira, who becomes the principal IPRC-Kitabi, having served in the same position in acting capacity.
The principals of IPRC-South and IPRC-Gishari under the new dispensation are yet to be named.
The changes are part of broader reforms in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) subsector.
The constituent IPRCs have been elevated in status, with the ‘C’ in the acronym now standing for ‘College’, instead of ‘Centre’. They will be offering Advanced Diploma in a wide-range of marketable courses.
While previously Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres oversaw the operations of vocational and technical training centres in their respective jurisdictions, the government has since handed this role to districts – as is the case with conventional schools (primary and secondary) – which will see the new IPRCs concentrate on training.
Officials say that the merger of all former Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres to into Rwanda Polytechnic is expected to enhance quality of education in the TVET subsector.
The headquarters of Rwanda Polytechnic are expected to be located at IPRC-Kigali in Kicukiro District.
During an interview last month, the Director General of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), Jerome Gasana, explained that the reform focused on quality assurance.
WDA is the body that regulates and oversees the implementation of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy in the country.
In June last year, a new law was enacted establishing Rwanda Polytechnic as a TVET higher learning institution that would bring together public TVET colleges (IPRCs) countrywide.
The government wants more upper secondary school students to join TVET institutions so they can acquire badly needed employable and entrepreneurial skills.
TVET is seen as an avenue through which developing countries like Rwanda can tackle unemployment in part because it normally empowers learners with hands-on skills that are needed on the labour market.