Raising education standards is a matter of urgency

Early this month, the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) released a very disheartening report: half of all graduates in East Africa were unqualified.

Early this month, the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) released a very disheartening report: half of all graduates in East Africa were unqualified.

Coming from a body that was set up to regulate higher education in the region, the report is very damning.  It paints a gloomy picture of a region that at one time had some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning, now churning out half baked graduates.

IUCEA is not the only complainant, employers are finding it difficult to get the right quality of graduates and some have resorted to looking beyond the region’s borders to fill the slots.

The reasons they give vary, but the most glaring is low government funding and higher intakes that do not match the infrastructure and the needed manpower.

But the universities should not take all the blame. Academic nurturing begins at the lower level; primary and secondary schools. If a student doesn’t have a firm foundation, don’t expect universities to provide any miracles.

It therefore comes as a relief to learn that the government has realised that the current curriculum needs a serious overhaul, therefore the review could not have come at a better time.

While it is understandable that Rwanda’s education system has undergone drastic remodeling and teething problems were to be expected, periodic reviews will always be necessary if the country is to avoid the downward swirl in education standards.