Budget cuts heavy blow to varsities

KIGALI - Some public universities have resorted to depending on income generating projects and cost cutting techniques, following government’s decision to scale down funding to institutions of higher learning.
L-R : Prof. Silas Rwakabamba, NUR Rector ; KIST Rector Prof. Abraham Atta Ogwu
L-R : Prof. Silas Rwakabamba, NUR Rector ; KIST Rector Prof. Abraham Atta Ogwu

KIGALI - Some public universities have resorted to depending on income generating projects and cost cutting techniques, following government’s decision to scale down funding to institutions of higher learning.

In the 2010/11 budget, the Minister of Finance announced that the funds allocated to Public Institutions of Higher Learning would be reduced by 25 percent and injected into lower education.

The New Times yesterday spoke to some Rectors of the affected universities to establish whether the move had affected their daily functioning.

The Rector of the National University of Rwanda (NUR), Prof. Silas Rwakabamba, said in a phone interview that the university had come up with ways to help it sustain itself.
“The move definitely had an impact on us, but since we had been informed in advance, we had some measures that will help us bridge the gap left by the budget cut,” he said.

Rwakabamba said that some of the measures the oldest university in the country is going to use to generate income include offering consultancy services and carrying out trainings.

“We want to put all our income generating projects together into a company and then start offering our services outside the campus,” said Rwakabamba.

He mentioned the various Masters courses that have been brought to Kigali as one sure way of generating income since Kigali has a bigger demand for such courses.
According to the Rector of the Higher Institute of Science and Animal Husbandry-ISAE Busogo, Dr Charles Karemangingo, the move has led to the laying off of more than 41 employees as one way of cutting costs.

He said that it means that the institute will need to use much more effort to maintain good quality of education with the remaining staff.

In a phone interview with the Rector of KIST, Prof. Abraham Atta Ogwu, he said that they were engaging the Ministry of Education to see how the move could be revisited since the institution’s operations are being affected.

“Though we are trying to adapt, it remains a serious matter,” said Ogwu.He argued that even though the government cannot fully finance the institutions, there are ways it can be done.

“The phasing out of the funding can be done in a long period of time as the institution also comes up with alternative financing channels.”

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