Incorporate integrity and patriotism in education

Last Sunday a total of 1912 students of Kigali Independent University got their degrees at a glamorous ceremony. Good news it sounds.

Last Sunday a total of 1912 students of Kigali Independent University got their degrees at a glamorous ceremony. Good news it sounds.

This ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Education, Dr. Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya who re presented the government of Rwanda. Present at the colourful ceremony were the Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Charles Murigande and State Minister in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Joseph Murekeraho. It was also attended by several educationists, civic and religious leaders.

Kigali Independent University, Rwanda’s leading private university was started on March 1996 by the Rwanda Association for the Promotion of education and culture (ARPEC), currently known as Association ULK.

Two years later, it was legally registered by the Convention No. 001/98 of 02/02/1998 with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda. On June7, 2002, Association ULK acquired its legal status by the ministerial order number 013/17.

Experience, however, in the employment sector shows that acquisition of the knowledge and skills is one thing and using the knowledge and skills, one acquires for years striven is another.

Rwanda as a result of past bad governance and the 1994 Genocide in particular lost her professionals – some were killed during the bloodletting while others fled the country for their dear lives.

This created a great shortage of skilled manpower in the country.

Therefore, the occasion of graduation brings hope not only to the individual families of the graduates but also to the country. Needless to mention, Rwanda for the last thirteen years has largely been depending on foreign expertise in most sectors. As many Rwandan graduate, the country is relieved of the burden of over dependence on foreign human resource.
What kind of education do Rwandans access? After years of political stability, the question of relevancy of education system becomes inevitable.

The fact that the number of graduates in the country is on the increase can no longer be faulted.

The numbers per say, may not salvage the country from the horde of development challenges unless the education they receive puts emphasis on the virtues such as integrity, unity in diversity and patriotism.

The recent scenario in the country suggests many things. Allegations of corruption by senior citizens who hold key offices is unfortunate for a country going through reconstruction.
From ministers to public servants. “There is no smoke without fire” goes the adage.

The recent probes and investigations by the Prosecutor General are already a signal that something might be happening in the offices.

For sure none of us doubts their competence and their expertise. But, the problem appears to be linked to integrity and patriotism.

I always say to be patriotic is not words but actions.

Abuse of office implies many things. One, that the education the culprits received did not mould them to become true servants of their country nor did it prepare them to become true nationalists.

Misallocation of public funds means that one is sabotaging the government programmes of poverty reduction, good governance,   increased justice and social welfare. Living in total abundance while fellow citizens suffer from hunger, diseases, illiteracy and ignorance simply means the education they got did not promote justice as a value.

Also, education to be regarded as relevant should be oriented to the needs of the community. The challenge, in effect, goes to the investors in the education field and other stakeholders. It is today and now that questions about relevancy of the curricula schools should be posed.

Are the courses traded at colleges compatible to the current needs of Rwandans?
Relevancy and increase in numbers of graduates are two different things.
The need for the latter should not undermine the former nor should Rwandans seem to compromise about it. 

As Rwandans celebrate the 3rd graduation ceremony of Independent University of Kigali, the major question to ponder upon should be will the products live up to the vision of the university – of producing true development advocates, equipped not only with scientific knowledge but also with values of justice, integrity and patriotism.

Until we get this point, the huge investment in education might not benefit the country in terms of increased service delivery.
Ostensibly, education is a wheel upon which all other sectors of the economy move.

Thus if anything goes wrong with the wheel, then, the entire economy will be affected.
The graduates should know that the education they have got is not only for their own benefit, but also supposed to be used to accomplish government programmes.

Interaction with a few graduates on the graduation day, however, it is evident that there is change in attitudes towards work.

Senga Phili, a Statistician in Electro-gaz with a Diploma in Maths/Physics from Institute De Goma (INSTIGO who started working, ten years ago, said university education has made him more effective in his work.

“I have graduated in Economics and for sure the skills I have received at ULK have helped me to work more efficiently than before,” Senga said.

While Kamanzi Joseph, a Law graduate and works as a prosecutor in Cyangugu said that more skills have made him confident at work.

“Now, I’m happy I have fulfilled the pre-conditions of my job - I have passed law with a distinction,”


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