*1300 to be awarded degrees
KIGALI - The long awaited graduation ceremony for about 1300 students who completed their undergraduate studies at Universite Laique Adventiste de Kigali (UNILAK), will be held next month.
Students who completed their studies in different faculties for the past have for years not received their degrees after disputes arose about the school’s quality of service. The dispute was resolved recently after the government gave a definitive operational licence.
In an interview Thursday, Dr. Jean Ngamije, Rector of UNILAK, said the news to get a definitive operating licence was welcome by the entire school community, since they had been requesting it for a long time.
“We have been submitting all the necessary requirements to the Higher Education Council (HEC) seeking asked for accreditation,” said Ngamije, adding that the cabinet finally accepted the report from the Ministry of Education in late 2008, thus making UNILAK a recognised institution of high learning in the country.
Since 2003, students have been completing their undergraduate studies at UNILAK, but could not graduate because the Kigali-based University was yet to be accredited by the Ministry of Education.
The Rector said many of their students were denied employment opportunities after completing their undergraduate studies, because they had no state recognized diplomas.
“Some could even get chances to go for the Masters Programmes abroad and be sent back after discovering that their undergraduate university is not recognized by the State,” he said.
In preparation for the first graduation ever held since its inception in 1997, UNILAK administration has now set the February 15 as the deadline for the 2008 graduating students to have completed all the requirements, including submitting and defending their research thesis.
Dr. Ngamije also said that there was a possibility of changing the name from being a university to an institute, admitting that they have not yet fulfilled all the requirements to be called a University.
“Changing the name does not affect the institution’s value because a degree is a degree no matter where it is obtained from,” he added.
Some of the requirements for a Institution of Higher of Learning to be called a university include having a considerable number of faculties mainly science and technology, Masters and PhD programmes as well as being a research-based institution.
Currently, UNILAK has only two faculties, the faculty of Law and the faculty of Economic Sciences which is meant to award the Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, in Information Technology Applied Management and in Rural Development.
But the Rector said that soon, they will introduce the Faculty of Sciences and Technology with two departments which are Computer Sciences and Applied Statistics, while the Department of Economics, Public Law and Private Law will be respectively introduced in the Faculties of Economic Sciences and the Faculty of Law.
Ngamije also said that they are planning to start up another campus that will be established in Nyanza, Southern Province.