The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: 'One University' Will Prioritise Research - Prof Rugege

Photo: Jared Nyataya
Graduation (file photo): In the proposed structure, the University of Rwanda will be comprised of colleges, schools and departments not faculties as the case currently.

The proposed University of Rwanda will have research as a key priority when it is finally instituted, according to Prof Geoffrey Rugege, the Executive Director of the Higher Education Council (HEC).

In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Rugege admitted that faculty members at the different universities, public and private, have published little compared to their counterparts in other countries, which he attributed to lack of time and resources to do research.

"One of the areas of focus by the University of Rwanda is going to be research...obviously you cannot publish without research. We are going to put emphasis on what professors at other universities do. We want to require each teacher to have published in order to be promoted," said Rugege.

He noted that with the human resources now pooled together the lecturers will be less constrained and will therefore find time to research for their academic publications.

"Now one way we are trying to solve the problem is, when you have a strong institution, you attract funds to be used by the professor to hire an assistant so that the assistant can do the physical teaching and the professors may have the time do the research," he said.

He added that his institution is currently encouraging universities to have academic journals, where scholarly articles by the academic staff and students can be published.

Asked what impact it would have on education quality, Rugege said quotas have been set to be followed by universities.

"We prefer to have a ratio of 30% PhD's and 70% masters at university level so that an undergraduate student shouldn't be taught by a bachelor's holder," he said, explaining that those with bachelors are only allowed to be tutorial assistants, who work under the supervision of masters holders.

Rugege, who, come January 2013, is set to retire from the academia after close to four decades, also commented on the issue of high labour turnover in the education sector, which he attributed to low pay compared to other sectors.

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