Employers invest in training to address gaps in quality education

During a high-level brainstorming session on how to improve Rwanda’s competiveness, Tuesday, it was noted that improving the quality of education is paramount in enhancing the country’s business competitiveness. The meeting was informed that the quality of education offered in institutions of higher learning does not match the technologies on the market, making it difficult for employers to recruit fresh graduates.
A graduation ceremony of one of the local universities. Companies have been urged to strengthen internship programmes for their staff. The New Times/ File.
A graduation ceremony of one of the local universities. Companies have been urged to strengthen internship programmes for their staff. The New Times/ File.

During a high-level brainstorming session on how to improve Rwanda’s competiveness, Tuesday, it was noted that improving the quality of education is paramount in enhancing the country’s business competitiveness.

The meeting was informed that the quality of education offered in institutions of higher learning does not match the technologies on the market, making it difficult for employers to recruit fresh graduates.

However, Bank of Kigali (BK), which mostly recruits fresh graduates, says that there is a way to work around the challenge.

According to Enock Luyenzi, BK’s head of Human Resources and Administration, of the 600 bank staff, 60 percent were recruited as fresh graduates.

“Our recruitment targets mostly fresh graduates. But, because we don’t expect fresh graduates to have experience, they undergo a six- month on the job induction course in basic banking processes,”  Luyenzi said.

He added that employers who expect fresh graduates to perform to their expectations, will be frustrated.

“Fresh graduates can only be able to perform if they carried out internships, which is not necessarily the case with Rwanda,” Jean Patrick Habyarimana, BK’s Human Resources Manager added.

Mary Asiimwe, the Director of Human Resources at MTN, a mobile phone operator, said that while they target the top students, they too have to undergo extensive training.

“They undergo on-the-job training which greatly helps them adjust,” Asiimwe said, adding that they also liaise with Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and the Central African Adventist University to source employees in the areas of technology and engineering.

The issue of quality of education has, however, become a priority with Members of Parliament urging the government to accelerate efforts that will help produce graduates who match the labour demands.

“Though we are boasting of the increasing quantity of graduates, it does not match the quality we have,” MP Giovanni Renzaho, said during a joint parliamentary session, Monday.

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, was  appearing  before the House to present a progress report on the 9-Year Basic Education programme..

While the number of graduates has remarkably gone up, MP Renzaho explained that the poor quality is exhibited on the job market, where some graduates cannot express themselves and others cannot write something as simple as an application letter.

“Fresh graduates can be talented if guided on what to do by helping them learn as they work,” MTN’s Asiimwe said. 

And for Habyarimana of BK, the best thing is for higher institutions of learning would be to increase internships for students to help them get acquainted with the working environment.

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