The University of Rwanda is calling for more efforts to encourage girls pursue careers in science and technology.
The call was made by Professor Mannase Mbonye, the Priciple of the College of Science and Technology during the graduation ceremony held yesterday.
“Today, we are graduating 1,273 students, of whom only 384, or about 30.2 percent, are females,” Mbonye said.
“As we celebrate, we should think of the lack of gender balance in regard to the future manpower in science and technology. These numbers challenge us in finding ways of increasing female enrolment in this college.”
The college has a student population of 6,050, of which only 29 per cent are women.
Yesterday was the fourth day of the university’s five-day graduation ceremony.
Halima Uwamwezi, 23, who graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying, was the overall best performing female graduate.
Uwamwezi told The New Times that the degree she received as one of the best graduates underlined the fact that girls can actually perform well in science.
“This certificate is an honour, a pride to my family and the country in general. This is also a pride to fellow girls; it is a sign that we (girls) are capable,” Uwamwezi said.
The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, who officiated at the ceremony, asked graduates to be responsible when they join the labour market.
“On this first graduation, I wish to remind staff and students that you have tested the integrated institution and harmonised curricula that this institution has put in place to reach a common purpose of updated education and sustainable development,” he said.
The University of Rwanda was borne of the merger of seven public higher learning institutions in September last year. The move to merge the institutions was aimed at enhancing quality research, which would support the national development agenda.
Nsengimana asked the university staff and students to embrace the new changes as they are aimed at improving education quality in the country.
“The benefits of the reforms are to turn education liabilities into assets and challenges into opportunities if internalised by all stakeholders,” Nsengimana said.
Prof. Mike O’Neal, the university chancellor, urged the graduates to strive to excel in the job market.
“You should follow your personal calling to a life of service, to be servant leaders in your particular service where you have been called by God as you make a difference in your lives and society,” Prof. O’Neal said.