Graduates decry transcript delays

EVERY YEAR universities churn out thousands of graduates, who leave the institutions mostly with  a zeal to get jobs either in public institutions or private sector.
INILAK graduates during a past ceremony. Some institutions of higher education take months before giving their former students testimonials. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
INILAK graduates during a past ceremony. Some institutions of higher education take months before giving their former students testimonials. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

EVERY YEAR universities churn out thousands of graduates, who leave the institutions mostly with  a zeal to get jobs either in public institutions or private sector.

But it is common occurrence in some private universities, that graduates do not get their academic transcripts upon graduation, or soon after.

Most of the graduates say the universities tell them they would get communication when the transcripts are ready so that they can pick them.

The graduates from different universities say they encounter problems when they are looking for jobs because the testimonials they get on provisional basis are often not valued by prospective employers.

For example, former students who graduated from Kigali Institute of Management (KIM) in November last year are still awaiting their transcripts. They say they losing opportunities on labour market.

The promise was to get their transcripts one month after graduation. But around 300 graduates from the school were asked to wait for what the school calls ‘sophisticated degrees’, made outside the country while over 426 graduates from Rwanda Tourism College were asked to wait until some errors were corrected.

“We have paid everything we owed the school, including the graduation gowns. Why should we wait for up to five months while graduates in other schools get their transcripts just one month upon graduation?” complained a graduate on condition of anonymity, adding that he had lost five  job opportunitie as a result.

Missed opportunities

“When we apply, we are not shortlisted because our documents are lacking and the school does not provide any provisional document that would be accepted by prospective employers,” said a former students’ representative.

“I recently went to ask for it but I was told there are errors they were correcting but they didn’t tell me when they would be done correcting them,” said a graduate at Rwanda Tourism College. The former students say the problem has been there longer that even for those who graduated in previous years are yet to get their testimonials.

But Peter Rutaremara, the KIM chairman, says the institute wants to give the graduates ‘good degrees from a good printer in Kenya.’

“They are aware of that,” he said, adding that the printing in Kenya delayed due to recent presidential elections in that country, since printing houses had a lot to print from candidates. 

He, however, said the their testimonials were finally printed and will get them by next Friday.

Interestingly, the vice rector in charge of academics at Kigali Institute of Education, Prof Wenceslas Nzabarirwa, said that their transcripts are made in the UK and are always ready by graduation day.

“It only takes about two weeks for the graduates to have their papers. This helps them to be ready for the labour market by January since graduations normally take place in late November,” said Nzabarirwa.

It was generally established that the problem was not very prevalent in public universities as is the case in private ones.

According to Prof Rwigamba Balinda, the president of the Association of Private Institutions of High Learning (ARIPES), issuing certificates or other credentials is an internal matter the institution.

“For us in ULK (Kigali Independent University) we have no cases of delaying and I can’t comment on behalf of other institutions,” said Barinda.

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