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Closure of Universities Leaves Students High and Dry

by Williams Buningwire
1:23 pm

Indangaburezi College of Education

Students from universities that were closed by Rwanda’s Higher Education Council (HEC) for alleged administrative challenges that compromised the quality of education are in dilemma of how their academic transcripts will be accessed to pursue studies in the next academic year that starts in September 2020.

Since the official closure of three higher learning institutions by HEC early this month and late last month, no official communication from academic registrars has been made to students on how academic transcripts, refunds, and certificates for graduands will be accessed.

“We have not received any communication from our former university about the closures and how we shall get our transcripts or even admissions elsewhere, we just heard about closure in news. We are in a dilemma of where to study when schools resume,” Ally Radjab Musema, a business management student at the Christian University of Rwanda said.

“There is no effective communication at all. The university or HEC should come out and explain the reasons for closing the universities and probable ways of pursuing our studies,” 

“First of all, we do not agree that our universities were closed because they lacked enough staff or because they had poor quality of education delivery as we hear in the news. We were being taught by professors, Ph.D. holders, and masters degree holders,” Musema who represented students during  Ubyumva ute, a daily KT Radio program disagreed with HEC boss. 

“We don’t know whether they were permanent lecturers or part-time. But we believe they were delivering the best content, the University had over 1000 students. The university management and HEC  should come out and explain; we have students who had paid advances, who will refund this money?”

Christian University of Rwanda and Indangaburezi College of education were this month closed for alleged administrative challenges that compromised the quality of education.

The closed Universities followed the University of Kibungo (UNIK) formerly Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Education of Kibungo (INATEK) which was also closed on June 30, 2020, for the same alleged mistakes (administrative challenges).

According to HEC, the universities were closed after a “comprehensive external audit”  and “it was not by surprise to the owners of the institutions.”

 HEC explains that three types of inspection were conducted before the decision to close these institutions was taken.

The inspection types included Institution audit on management, Follow-up Assessment on the operation of the universities, and Verification of the educational services.

“It is a pity that students were not explained about what happened by university management, how and where they would resume their studies. The closure of these universities was not by surprise, they knew it well. Therefore,  explaining and offering academic transcripts to students is a must rather than being a choice for them,” Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, Director General of HEC said.

“We are warning lecturers who will hesitate to release marks of students. Students who have debts should pay them to access their results and continue from other institutions,” 

“We have held meetings with over 28 leaders of higher-learning institutions and they agreed to admit these students from closed universities upon fulfilling application procedures,”Mukankomeje said. 

According to Mukankomeje students should be able to present requirements including admission letters from the former university and academic transcripts to be admitted.

“I am representing my colleagues and our eyes are on HEC as the only official institution that can solve our problems. Now, who will refund students who had paid in advance, will they incur losses? Two: How should we guarantee the graduation of students who had submitted their dissertations?” Musema asked. 

“The university offices are closed, no one receives calls, we do not have anyone to ask, something should be done, we do not know where to go and who to ask.”

Answering these questions, Dr. Mukankomeje said “the issue of refunds is not part of HEC responsibility. However we can collaborate with responsible authorities for students who had paid advances to be refunded and study in other institutions,”

“Some of the closed university owners are detained, but we believe they can solve these issues including the refunds. For the graduates, they will be assessed and successful ones will graduate from other institutions” Dr. Mukankomeje said.

Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, former Prime Minister of Rwanda is one of the owners of universities that were closed. Yesterday, Habumuremyi appeared before Kacyiru Primary Court in Gasabo district.

The Christian university of Rwanda had over 1000 students facing the dilemma of where to study come 2020/2021 academic year.

The total number of students from Indangaburezi college of education and INATEK to be affected is yet to be released.

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