KIGALI - Rwandan institutions of higher of learning will now begin the academic year in September, adopting the cycle used in other East African Community member states.
This follows the approval by the Cabinet meeting that sat on Wednesday.
The academic year has been running from January to October while in other EAC states, the year begins in September and ends in June.
“The harmonisation of the academic calendar will help students easily transfer to other East African countries and continue with their studies uninterrupted,” Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, the Minister of Education, told The New Times yesterday.
The alignment comes in the wake of a bigger strategy 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.
According to the Director of Higher Education Council (HEC) Prof. Geoffrey Rugege, the harmonisation will eliminate delays in admission.
High school finalists in Rwanda have to wait for a full year before joining their respective universities.
“This will ensure that they don’t wait for long,” he said.
Rugege explained that other advantages include the matching of the academic year with the financial year. He further said that it would blend well with the new modular system of teaching.
The modular system allows multiple exits where students obtain qualification transcripts after every stage which can later be upgraded.
Some institutions in the country have already prepared a plan of action to adopt the new system next September. These include; SFB, KIST, NUR, Mutara Polytechnic University, Kigali Institute of Management and ULK among others.
The Rector of SFB, Dr. Reid Whitlock, had earlier said that they compressed the current academic year which normally lasts for ten months into eight months.
This will end in August so that the first semester of next academic year begins in September.
In an interview with The New Times, Joseph Mbonigaba, a student at SFB, said that he welcomes the new programme, but noted that it had come along with some difficulties due to the haste to complete the current year.
“It is difficult for us but the rush is worth it,” Mbonigaba said.
Olivier Karangwa, a student at KIST said the new programme may have caught some institutions off guard.
“Everything is being rushed and we are finding difficulties to match the speed,” he complained.