HUYE - 238 students from the National University of Rwanda (NUR) were yesterday awarded Diplomas, Bachelors and Masters Degrees at a mini-graduation ceremony presided over by the University’s board chairman, Dr Theogene Rutagwenda.
The graduation ceremony that was partly sponsored by US based Tulane University also saw 56 students conferred with Masters Degrees after successfully completing their studies at the Kigali based NUR School of Public Health.
Ten practicing journalists who completed their studies at the NUR affiliated Great Lakes Media Centre in Kigali, were also awarded Diplomas in Journalism at the colourful ceremony held at the University’s main auditorium.
Dr Rutagwenda, a delegate of the University Chancellor; the Minister of Education, Dr Charles Murigande, commended the university administration for the progress registered especially in the last four years.
He said that despite the surging number of students that has increased by about 60 percent in the last four years, the university has managed to reorganise itself without compromising the quality of education provided.
“The board notes with pleasure that while implementing major changes in what we teach and how we teach it, carry out research that has enriched academic growth at NUR, teaching has not been compromised,” said Rutagwenda.
“Research and consultancy have grown into major elements of the university’s reputation here and abroad,” he added.
Rutagwenda cited the new infrastructure that is coming up at the university, improvements at the library which now boasts of over 33,000 journals on the web and over 80,000 e-books that can be accessed by students as some of the important developments that have taken place at the university over the last four years.
He commended the university’s initiative to start income generating projects which, coupled with tuition from private students and support from donors, contribute about 50 percent of the university budget.
This, he said, substantially reduces dependence on government funding. The University Rector, Professor Silas Lwakabamba, disclosed that the institution recently introduced a new approach to teaching and learning, a change from purely knowledge transfer to learning out comes which is student-centred.
“The responsibility has been shifted from the lecturer to the student, the aim is to produce graduates who can think for themselves and take responsibility for their jobs,” said Lwakabamba.
To improve lecturers’ English language proficiency, Lwakabamba revealed that over 40 academic staff members are undergoing English language training in Kenya to help them polish their language skills.
Judith Kazaire, the representative of the graduands who was awarded a Masters Degree in Business Law, called on university authorities to revise the cost of pursuing Masters Degrees which she said is out of reach for many.
“The university could for instance allow students to pay for their courses in instalments, this is one way that could make such programmes affordable to many,” she said.