Higher education in Rwanda: opportunities and challenges

The decade at the time of genocide and after gave Rwanda an opportunity to create history as the fastest growing economy in East Africa.The decade of the 1990s introduced Rwanda into a new age technology, and possibilities of challenges for higher learning institutions which were at their infancy stage at the time of rebuilding the Economy.
Thousands graduate each year in Rwanda’s higher institutions of learning(File Photo)
Thousands graduate each year in Rwanda’s higher institutions of learning(File Photo)

The decade at the time of genocide and after gave Rwanda an opportunity to create history as the fastest growing economy in East Africa.

The decade of the 1990s introduced Rwanda into a new age technology, and possibilities of challenges for higher learning institutions which were at their infancy stage at the time of rebuilding the Economy.

Despite the negative part of the country’s history experienced in 1994, it is impressing to note that the decade looked promising and fast tracked by the current political leadership.

Not many envisaged the development this country has taken for the last 17 years.

It is worth noting that that Rwanda has experienced all of the real life issues and practically put systems and institutions in place especially in the educational sector.

It is evident that the politics, economics and educational institutions had to resilience to bounce back from trouble to growth.

Rwanda is on the verge of attaining sustainable technological expansion which is basically fuelled by education.

 Since the year 2000, education sector in this country has suspended challenges. However, this does not mean that the education sector is free from problems but predicted that education based technological prosperity is in the pipeline to bolster the sector upwards.

Higher Learning institutions increased productivity, slow population growth, higher remuneration to the faculty, better training facilities, more opportunities for unskilled workers, better research and improved procedures for technology.

This could make the country take off into sustainable socio-economic development.

The Rwandan democracy works towards population diversity. This situation provides and supports access and quality standards in Higher Learning institutions.

Universities in the country should help in developing civic responsibility among citizens. In other words, there should be a linkage between education and the economy.

In doing so, Rwanda will be able to effectively address the challenges and move its people into economic mainstream of life.  Adjusting collegiate programmes to meet the needs of the new, older tertiary institution is outstanding for students.

The Gradual positive progress in education is a blessing to Rwanda. This gives a country stability that is much needed in a dynamic and changing society.

However, educational institutions do not operate in isolation; rather, they are part and parcel of the community, the state and the nation.

Some of these tertiary institutions may be religious based, but that does not mean that they are not part of the community. No educational institution can be immune from major forces impacting society. For, students are prepared for life.

Looking back in the last 17 years, one can detail sweeping economic, political and social changes that came about as a result of an aggressive, futuristic and visionary leadership in the country.

It begs one question, however, where will higher education institutions be in the near future?

Leaders of higher education institutions must face challenges of keeping up with the speed of change. Contemporary higher learning institutions should be transformed from insulated halls of learning for young people into more complex and multifaceted institutions serving all ages and variety of constituencies.

The agents of change should continue to reshape the form and substance of higher education in the next decade and beyond.

This will become a reality when education responds to forces of change by tackling various challenges that include: understanding and acting upon relatedness of education issues, increasing institutional flexibility, solving the problem of faculty shortage, improving governance and leadership effectiveness, development of funding stability, retaining and recruiting students from all backgrounds.

It’s upon the incumbent the Higher Learning Institutions to break free of traditional university model, develop a new mode of emphasizing their role as global learning centres and regional economic organizations.

Rector, Mt. Kenya University, Kigali Campus