THE Rwf340 million released by the United Nations on Friday to help in the construction of a regional centre of excellence on biodiversity and natural resources management at the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in Huye is a significant step toward improving research in institutions of higher learning. It will also expedite sustainable development in Rwanda and the region as a whole.
The contribution comes at a time when Rwanda is overhauling its education curricula to meet the current needs of society. Since a country is as good as its education system, it is always imperative to prioritise research as a key component of knowledge acquisition. All countries that boast of viable economies first invested in research and were able to generate manpower in line with the country’s needs.
The problem in most developing countries is the continued churning out of graduates who are detached from their immediate environment because of the limited investment in research. As a result, most of the graduates tend to have skills that do not to meet the labour market needs.
It should be mandatory for tertiary institutions to invest more in research because the essence of higher education is to dig deep into society’s problems and find appropriate solutions.
A country can never develop unless it is able to find local solutions to its problems. As long as we still cling onto the obsolete colonial education system that emphasises theory rather than imparting practical skills, we shall never be able to find solutions to problems we face as a country.
The funding of research on biodiversity is, therefore, a welcome move that can help young graduates know how best to harness the environment to bring about sustainable development. This is because we usually have a lot of potential in our environment that we quite often fail to put to use because of limited knowledge.