Substandard Institutions of Higher Learning may face new tough assessment measures that could lead to their closure, Rwanda’s Higher Education Council (HEC) warned.
At the just concluded National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero), President Paul Kagame blamed private investors who rush to invest in higher learning institutions based on their interests without considering the quality of education.
He went on to challenge the Ministry of education to take serious measures against such institutions – proposing a possible closure to those that found incompetent.
“It’s not about how many universities you have, it’s about what they give you. Most universities don’t qualify to be universities. Some of these universities are just spoiling for us. How can we even fail to meet the average standards of Sub-Saharan Africa,” wondered the President.
In addition to President Kagame’s comments, Dr Donald Kaberuka – the current global Fund chair and former African Development Bank President, advised that a country cannot achieve any growth without investing heavily in its education.
“A country that has messed up its education can never achieve its much-needed growth,” Dr. Donald Kaberuka – a seasoned economist, said at the National Leadership Retreat.
Since 1994, Rwanda has been investing heavily in its education system. However, some Institutions of Higher Learning continue to mess up the system. Others are on the verge of closing down.
So many issues have forced employees of different institutions of higher learning to decry salary delays, poor provision of other benefits, among others.
Three Institutions of Higher Learning have since 2017 been dragged into a mess for various reasons.
A case is the Eastern Province-based University of Kibungo (UNIK) that is currently battling a possible closure.
As it was reported in the media before, the University staff dragged the institution to court over gross management that led to delayed salaries.
At the institution, staffers went unpaid for over a year. The same issue has been rolling for months at the Christian University of Rwanda (CHUR) – which has subsidiaries in the capital Kigali and Karongi in Western Province.
In June last year, the Ministry of Education announced a decision to definitively close two faculties of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences and Medicine and Surgery of the University of Gitwe.
The Southern Province-based institution is still struggling to reopen the faculties, according to staff at the University.
There has been an ongoing assessment conducted by the higher Education council to examine the life and services of all institutions of higher learning in the country.
However, the Director General of Higher Education Council, Dr Rose Mukankomeje, says new measures will be added in scrutinizing the institutions.
“I cannot give you a detailed plan at the moment, but we are working on the new measures to assess the institutions of higher learning,” she said.
On the case of the University of Kibungo, Dr Mukankomeje told KT Press that the assessment was conducted, and will be followed by another.
“We conducted an academic assessment at that University and the minister of Education has directed us to conduct financial audit at the same institution,” Dr Mukankomeje told KT Press.
There are 17 institutions of higher learning in the country grouped under different categories.
Under its docket, HEC is charged, among other things, with granting accreditation for establishment of institutions of higher learning.