University of Rwanda needs Rwf68bn in annual budget

The University of Rwanda (UR) will need at least $100 million (nearly Rwf68 billion) for its first annual budget, Vice-Chancellor Prof. James McWha has revealed. 
University of Rwanda Vice-Chancellor Prof. James McWha (R) and Prof. Paul Davenport, Chair of the Board of Governors (C) at the meeting on Tuesday. John Mbanda
University of Rwanda Vice-Chancellor Prof. James McWha (R) and Prof. Paul Davenport, Chair of the Board of Governors (C) at the meeting on Tuesday. John Mbanda

The University of Rwanda (UR) will need at least $100 million (nearly Rwf68 billion) for its first annual budget, Vice-Chancellor Prof. James McWha has revealed. 

Prof. McWha was speaking to the New Times on the sidelines of the varsity’s first board meeting on Tuesday.

He said the amount is a bit higher than what was used to run all the six public institutions of higher learning that were merged to form the UR. He said the amount will  be worth the investment given the changes that will be made.

Prof. McWha said the merger will help save funds that will be channeled into other areas that are important to the university.

“We are not necessarily requesting for money from the government but that’s how much money we will need to run the university. We are yet to decide where we can get this money from,” McWha said in an interview.

He and other members of the UR’s Board of Governors, including the chair, Prof. Paul Davenport, discussed the varsity’s strategic plan for the next fiscal year and plans to design its ten-year strategic plan.

For the next fiscal year, the Vice-Chancellor said the $100 million needed to run the university will come from different sources, including the government through the national budget.

“We expect to get money through research and consultancy. We also expect funds from the government, and sponsors, among other sources,” he said.

Through direct applications, the university will start admitting students next month for its next academic year that starts in September.

McWha said the university will admit about 10,000 new students every year. This includes domestic and foreign students.

Priorities for next academic year

With a goal to improve the quality of both teaching and research, the university plans to upgrade facilities for students, improve staff qualifications, and restructure some of the teaching programmes it offers.

Prof. Davenport said the university has a responsibility to provide highly qualified workers to both Rwanda and the international community.

Davenport said there is need for UR to train qualified people in areas of energy, farming, food processing, and transportation, among other critical areas.

He said home-based research will be encouraged to ensure that the university is relevant to the Rwandan community.

Describing Rwanda as a country known internationally for its success in the provision of universal healthcare, Davenport sees the provision of quality higher education as another area that the country can be known for.

“Just as in health, in higher education we can show the tremendous advances you can make in a developing country with limited resources,” he said.

With seasoned scholars at the helm of its management, the UR is expected to ensure that students in higher learning institutions in Rwanda get better access to adequate study equipment, books, and more innovative and qualified lecturers.

The university was created last year as a merger of all public institutions of higher learning.

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