“All I need is a university degree,” declares Jerome Niyomwungeri, one of the 36, 000 Senior Six leavers to miss out on this year’s public universities admittance list.
The desire to attend university seems to be a common perception among high school graduates in Rwanda, according to a mini-survey conducted by The New Times.
The Rwanda National Examination Council (RNEC) recently released a list of students to join public universities in the next academic year. Out of about 42,000 students who passed the national examinations last year, only 6,000 managed to attain the required pass mark.
What is the fate of the remaining 36,000?
The Deputy Director of Work force Development Authority (WDA) Fatina Mukarubibi, says that students stand a higher chance for a better future if they embrace technical training.
WDA is charged with promoting and streamlining the national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
“There is a big skills gap in this field and many opportunities await those who decide to take the technical vocation training route,” says Mukarubibi.
She adds that technical courses open the way to jobs because of the high demand for blue collar occupation.
“This helps since after one year, a student may start working as he or she continues with another course,” Mukarubibi notes.
She agrees that the idea of vocational training is yet to be given value in Rwanda, but advises people, especially Senior Six leavers, to opt for it.
“The fact is that not everyone will join a university because if that happens, very many jobs will remain without specialists,” she explains.
A sizable number of schools offer these courses at various levels in the country. The government and its development partners are also investing funds towards the development of the TVET.
Mukarubibi added that there is a limited number of places in the colleges that offer diploma courses in vocational training. “But there is no crime in joining technical secondary schools after Senior Six.”
Rose Ingabire, another finalist, states that she understands the importance of pursuing technical courses.
“I am striving to find a white collar job to pay for my university tuition,” she says.