NYAGATARE - The government plans to merge all state universities into a single institution in order to improve education standards, the Minister of Education, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, announced Monday.
“This project to set up one state university is in the pipeline. All public institutions will be merged into one and headed by a vice chancellor,” he disclosed.
“This will improve the quality of education as we will be having over 60,000 students under one university lectured by over 200 Phd holders. Students will equally be able to share the available facilities”.
The minister made the announcement at Umutara Polytechnic University in Nyagatare district, where he met with the university administration and student community.
Accompanied by a delegation from Burkina Faso Ministry of Education, Habumuremyi was given a guided tour around the campus before meeting with students and university staff.
Earlier in the day, he toured various faculties including ICT, veterinary medicine and agriculture, where he called for concerted efforts to improve education standards.
“You need to do a lot of improvements in order to ‘live to the standards of institutions of higher learning,” the minister said, while inspecting the ICT department.
At the university’s main auditorium, he was received by thousands of students who included those from neighbouring Nyagatare School of Nursing and Midwifery.
The president of the students’ guild, Paul Kalisa, thanked the minister for his commitment to discuss challenges with the student community.
He drew the minister’s attention to a number of them that students face.
“It’s our privilege to host the Minister of Education here and an opportunity for us as students to address to you some of the challenges we face. We have a big problem of infrastructure like few lecture rooms, libraries and lack of internships,” Kalisa said.
Habumuremyi assured the students of the government’s commitment in addressing their problems.
“I first inspected all university departments and it is self evident that the University has a lot of problems. But the main reason why I am here is to see how all these problems can be solved,” he said.
Students posed the Minister various questions mainly centred on some of the faculties to be scrapped off the university’s program.
Jackline Mbabazi, a second-year student in the Faculty of Procurement and Logistics, wanted to know the future of the students if the faculty is dropped.
But Dr. Innocent Mugisha, from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), explained that the faculties would not be scrapped but will instead be offered privately.