The University of Ottawa in Canada is set to partner with the newly created University of Rwanda (UR) to help strengthen higher education in Rwanda.
This was announced yesterday by visiting former Governor General of Canada (2005-2010) and current Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, Michaëlle Jean.
She was speaking to journalists shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro in Kigali.
The former Commander-in-Chief of Canada also held talks with officials from the Ministry of Education and the University of Rwanda.
The Chancellor said that her university sees an opportunity in Rwanda’s bid to build a major public institution of higher learning that’s respected internationally.
“We want to contribute to this endeavour where you want to have a university of great quality that will be recognised around the world as a university of quality. We want to become partners in this project,” she said.
She said that starting with this year the University of Ottawa will waive tuition for some Rwandan students to complete their studies in Canada and give greater access to the university’s bursary programmes.
“What we are offering is the possibility to contribute to building university programmes that are not found here. We would like a real partnership whereby the University of Ottawa and the University of Rwanda as well as other high learning institutions here can work together to train people on the ground in Rwanda,” she explained.
Faculties at the Canadian university will also be encouraged to open up their programmes and resources to students from Rwanda, she added.
“We want to really work in partnership. Students will study in Rwanda, have the opportunity to complete their studies in Canada and come back to Rwanda for their diplomas,” she said, adding that the partnership will not encourage brain drain.
With 46,000 students, the University of Ottawa is the biggest bilingual campus in the world, teaching students from around the world in both English and French.
The UR is expected to ensure that students in public higher learning institutions in Rwanda get better access to adequate study equipment, books, and more innovative and qualified lecturers.
The varsity was created last year as a merger of all public institutions of higher learning.