Preparations to harmonize the academic calendar of Rwandan institutions of higher learning with that of other East African countries are in high gear.
In the bid to align their programmes to their regional counterparts’, some institutions in the country have already prepared their plan of action to see that the academic year that begins in September finds them ready.
In East Africa, the academic year begins in September and ends in June while in Rwanda it commences in January ending in October.
This comes in the wake of a bigger plan to fully harmonise the education systems of all the East African partner states whose modalities are still being worked out. They will include changes in the current syllabus to suit the integration requirements.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Vice Rector of Finance and Administration at the National University of Rwanda, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that the harmonization of the academic year will come with many advantages.
“It will allow students in the region to move freely and study at any university of choice without being hindered by the different study periods,” said Ndagijimana.
He added that it would help his institution to budget since the academic year will be ending with financial year, which starts on July 1.
“Currently we have been using the budget allocated to us for one financial year in two different years, so this harmonization will bring a proper balance of the budget since it will be ending with the financial year in June.”
When contacted, the Rector of SFB, Professor Reid E. Whitlock, said that they had already drafted a plan to see that they harmonise the academic year beginning this September.
“We have compressed this academic year which normally lasts for ten months into eight months which will end in August so that we can begin the first semester of next academic year in September,” said Whitlock
He admitted that is going to be a very busy year for both students and the faculty members of SFB.
“There will not be time to rest, as has been the case, until everything comes into order like we have planned”.
The Vice Rector for Academics at KIST, Prof. John Severin Mshana, said that they were planning to harmonise the academic year before 2012.
Recently, the Executive Director of Higher Education Council, Prof. Geoffrey Rugege, said that the proposal for the harmonization is pending cabinet approval.
According to the Vice Rector for Academics at Umutara Polytechnic University, the confirmation will have to come from HEC for them to begin the process of harmonization.
Commenting on the development, most students were very positive about the harmonisation arguing that it is to their advantage as far as studying in the region is concerned.