HUYE - Preparations to shift the Faculty of Law from the National University of Rwanda main campus in Huye district to Kigali City are in their final stages, the University Rector, Professor Silas Lwakabamba, confirmed.
The imminent January move of the faculty follows that of the School of Journalism and Communication with which it is expected to share premises.
Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Lwakabamba said that the plan to move the faculty has been approved by the University Senate, but will still need the go ahead of the Board.
Lwakabamba noted that the decision to move the faculty has been motivated by a number of factors, including, access to lecturers, many of whom are based in Kigali and the increased apprenticeship opportunities for students.
“We have many practicing lawyers and judges who could help in the faculty but cannot come to the main campus in Huye. So moving the faculty is seen as an important move for both students and lecturers,” said the Rector.
The university has a Masters of Law programme in Kigali and according to Lwakabamba, moving the faculty to Kigali is part of grand plan to open up a bigger campus in Kigali.
“Universities world over have campuses in different areas, in addition, moving this faculty to Kigali will reduce the pressure on our facilities here at the main campus,” he said.
On the fate of students who had enrolled for the evening programme at the main campus, Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the Dean of the Faculty said that arrangements have been put in place to enable them complete their courses.
“We have about 100 students under the programme who are in their final two years, we will continue providing them with lecturers until the programme is phased out,” he said.
The faculty has also been providing the much needed Legal Aid to the local people in the district. According to Ugirashebuja; people will continue to be assisted using a mobile Legal Aid clinic.
“The Ministry of Justice is providing country-wide legal aid, our planned mobile legal aid clinic will be one of the major stakeholders not only in Huye but countrywide,” he said.
John Kabandana, the speaker of the students’ guild and representative of the Faculty welcomed the move, saying it was increasingly becoming difficult to get lecturers.
“Many of our lecturers have other jobs in Kigali; it has been difficult, especially for final year students, to get ample supervision of their memoirs while in Huye. We hope moving to Kigali will help them (lecturers) teach and supervise better,” he said.
Kabandana, however, expressed fears over the accommodation of the close to 700 students who are set to move.
“It will be difficult to find affordable accommodation in Kigali especially now that students’ living allowances are no more,” said Kabandana, in a telephone interview.
The Faculty of Law was formerly located in Kigali before being moved to its current location when the University re-opened in 1995, after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.