Varsities advised on cutting costs

An education expert at the National University of Rwanda has urged universities in the country to embark on programmes to generate income internally or institute cost-cutting measures, following the government’s decision to cut 25 percent of budget allocations for public institutions of higher learning.
Professor Richard Berman (Photo PNtambara)
Professor Richard Berman (Photo PNtambara)

An education expert at the National University of Rwanda has urged universities in the country to embark on programmes to generate income internally or institute cost-cutting measures, following the government’s decision to cut 25 percent of budget allocations for public institutions of higher learning.

Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, announced the cut while reading the 2010/11 national budget.

Speaking to The New Times, last week, Prof Richard Berman disclosed that he is helping NUR to develop a data-driven model that will help put in place a continuous, sustainable leadership position at the university.

Prof Berman, is founder and Chief Executive Officer of US based LICAS INC, a consulting, healthcare education, housing, and youth development firm.

He urged that universities and the entire education system like everything else around the globe, are becoming more consumer driven, in this case student driven, which necessitates education managers to take a look at productivity and value which includes quality of education services being provided.

“We are looking at productivity improvement and efficiency because we have to make sure that we keep universities affordable,” he said.

“We know that there is a direct correlation between education level and poverty, and education level and GDP of countries so all we have to do is to make sure that we keep colleges and universities affordable, we have a responsibility with the public trust as a national university to make sure that we are efficient by using funds wisely, smartly; we have to take a hard look at productivity.”

To achieve this, five task forces made of university staff and students have been set up at NUR.

A Students task force will look into what can be done to make the university student friendly and student centred?.
A staff task force will design ways of making the university a wonderful place to attract dedicated staff ready to share the vision, the mission and committed to work everyday.
Another task force will look into ways of enhancing efficiency, productivity, and eliminate none of the priorities.
A global trends task force will look at what the country shall need in say, 5 to 20 years and what it will take to achieve this. 

“Looking to the future is going to lead us to look at global trends, narrow them down to Rwandan trends and then say given that, what are the programmes that we should be investing in, in training and educating people so that 20 years from now the NUR is again going to be a sustainable leader for this country in helping develop the brain (tower)?, “says Berman.

The last task force will focus on community outreach. One of the things that separates the NUR from all other universities and colleges and institutes in the country according to Berman, is its real commitment to outreach programmes.

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