About 243 rectors, lecturers and students from 29 public and private universities and higher learning institutions last week interacted with speakers from both the senate and the lower chamber during a visit to parliament.
During the Open Day session, the president of the senate, Dr Jean-Damascene Ntawukuliryayo challenged the lecturers not to lower standards of education if we want to educate strong and competitive Rwandans.
"We must help them catch up with the high standards in order to compete on the regional market and beyond," he said.
Dr Ntawukuliryayo also cautioned the lecturers against changing marks of their favorite students in order for them to pass.
"This should not be the way we do things. We don't teach students for them to succeed. We lecture to deliver knowledge and give exams to assess the level on which the knowledge delivered has been received," Ntawukuliryayo advised. "We not supposed to lower standards in order for the very 'weak' ones to succeed; we rather must help them to catch those high standards. Otherwise regional competition will leave us behind."
Lawmakers and the higher learning community also discussed issues regarding the language policy in the education sector, salaries, researches, students' discipline and the market needed skills.
Concerning the language policy, the varsity community seemed poorly informed on which language is supposed to be used by lecturers during their lectures, and the language of teaching in the first years of primary education.
To this, Ntawukuliryayo explained that Rwanda choose to adopt English for a reason.
"It is the regional language and we were joining the commonwealth community," he said and added that Kinyarwanda, French and English are accepted by the constitution and can all be used in the lecturers.
"Just make sure that your students understand what it is you want to put across."
The senate president also advised teachers to use Kinyarwanda in the first three years of primary school.
"We discussed it with Mineduc and our views are that the mother tongue is most effective language to be used for those children, who MUST have a real grounded foundation."
The speaker of the lower chamber Rose Mukantabana, also present at the event, requested the rectors, lecturers and students to send ideas and views towards the one university bill.
"We want you views and ideas as we are still discussing the bill," she said.