At his recent visit to the National University of Rwanda (NUR), President Paul Kagame pointed out that government considers education as one of the main pillars of development and will continue to invest heavily in the sector. To be honest I can’t imagine any sensible government having a different view.
The president officiated the opening of the new ICT laboratory constructed and equipped by the Republic of Korea through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) at a tune of US$4.7m. The facility has 11 laboratories with 400 computers.
Rwanda’s education sector is experiencing a significant growth trend. After the massive beating it took during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, a lot of ground work has revived the sector.
The Government is steadfast in spearheading developments in the sector as well as partnering with other actors. The challenges are still many but the commitment to solve them is what counts most.
The president pointed out clearly that, ‘without education, Rwanda will not achieve its development objectives.’
Education is the engine for development since it serves as the factory where skilled labour tasked with a country’s development process, is produced.
So if the factory is churning out poor quality products then the country should not dream of quality development.
It is for this reason that I have often used the common philosophical argument that no country can be more developed than its education system.
It is after all, the education system that manufactures teachers, doctors, and engineers among others who are the wheels and cogs of the development process of any country.
The other important aspect that the president may have added is the fact that even if the development objectives are achieved, they need to be sustained and this calls for a more strategic education system.
The Chinese may come and construct roads or the Koreans may put up a laboratory, but Rwandans have to maintain these facilities. In other words, although we may not be in position to produce graduates that can manufacture a computer or car, we should at least have those who can maintain new equipment.
That is why it is sometimes necessary to send Rwandans to developed nations like China, US or UK to acquire the necessary skills to sustain the country’s development initiatives.
If we are to escape the dilemma of dependency we need to start thinking innovatively—think outside the box.
There are some questions that students should not be asking their lecturers in 2011 when they have a laboratory with internet. There is something called Google.
Use it. As the Government continues to play its part, parents/guardians, teachers/lecturers, students and all other stakeholders must all roll their sleeves and play their respective roles.