KIGALI- The Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), is currently analyzing appeals by students who claimed their removal from full government sponsorship was unfair.
This follows last year’s decision to scrap the monthly stipend paid to government –sponsored students, leaving it to a few whose parents or guardians were found to be living in abject poverty.
The government sponsors university students through the Students’ Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR).
According to the Minister of Education, Dr Charles Murigande, after the academic year begun, they discovered that there are some students who never registered because they had no money, subsequently, dropping out of school.
He said that initial analysis indicates that at least five percent of students failed to register since the beginning of the current academic year or registered but missed classes as they looked for jobs.
“It is not an ideal condition for a student. Some have been living at their colleagues’ mercy, sharing food, lodging and sanitary utensils. We would not wish this to happen, but times are changing and our budget is small,” Murigande said in an exclusive interview.
The minister admitted that errors could have been made in the review process which relied mostly on ‘Ubudehe’ policy and student status evaluation forms and said that the ministry and SFAR were considering clear-cut measures to assist the needy students.
Murigande explained that he recently met students Guild leaders from all public universities on the matter and urged them to produce lists of most needy students.
He added that a team from SFAR and MINEDUC will go to all universities to gather data for the counter-review process.
He called upon all students to provide accurate information to speed up the procedure.
This comes amid reports from the public universities suggesting that students who were erroneously left out live in pathetic conditions.
Murigande called on the affected students to remain patient as authorities continue to seek solutions.