I write in response to several articles on government’s recent decision to adjust funding to public universities. This decision was well intentioned, although it may have been an unwelcome surprise to students.
One student, wrote in your publication complaining that medical students at the National University of Rwanda had been sent for clerkship without the ‘usual’ facilitation.
Why complain? It is not the university’s fault.
The idea of bursary scheme in public higher learning institutions has faded. State institutions cannot over rely on tax payers to maintain this scheme.
Parents should devise other means to support their children alongside the government sponsorship.
As the nation’s public universities undergo this shift, students should also grace for higher tuitions, it is now tuition payments, not state appropriations that will meet the deficit budget.
When the number of universities and graduates was still few, years ago, costs were definitely not an issue, but now it is.
If we want public universities to offer quality education, the idea of cost should not be over emphasised. Education is not cheap. The students’ loans being offered by the government through the Student’s Financing Agency should be enough.
In most universities in developed countries, most of the state’s public universities have more than half their costs covered by tuition.
Well, I’m not saying public universities should treat students as if they were private. But the idea of affordable university education- heavily subsidized by the government- may not be feasible-since the state has already helped in meeting other equally vital expenses to maintain the institution.
The students should not even feel that the budget cuts affect them alone. It also strains the university in the same way. Where for example the university used to hire two or more employees, it may no longer be possible with budget strains.
The best thing universities can do to maintain financing in some areas not already affected by budget cuts, is to convince the government about the importance of higher education in producing a workforce which will drive Rwanda’s vision of having a knowledge based economy.