The New Times (Kigali)

16 January 2013

Rwanda: Oklahoma University Gets Land for Kigali Campus

Oklahoma Christian University is set to build a state-of-the-art campus worth US$6.5 million on the government-donated 21-hectare piece of land in Kicukiro, Kigali.

The campus is the second initiative by the university after it began online Masters Programmes in Business Administration for Rwandan students last year.

Yesterday, a ten-member delegation comprising school administrators, architects and engineers met with President Paul Kagame to discuss the move, which, according to the Ministry of Education, is in high gear.

"We are planning to build the Central African School of Excellence which will be a duplicate of what we have in Atlanta Georgia, a very high quality seventh through 12th grade boarding school," Mike E. O'Neal, the President Emeritus of Oklahoma Christian University, said.

"We are here to finalise some of the preliminary preparations and will arrange for the land to be transferred to the company that we have created here that will manage the school."

According to a statement from the President's office, "Oklahoma Christian University has had a great relationship with this country and its leadership."

"When Greater Atlanta was looking for an African nation that is receptive to education to partner with, they found a flourishing relationship with the university and took it up from there and decided to establish the Central African School of Excellence. We are so pleased that this is happening," it added.

Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Education, welcomed the development, citing the need for more education opportunities for Rwandans.

"We welcome the desire expressed by the university and are ready to work with them in order to make it a reality," he said.

"Over the last eight years, Oklahoma has had a very vibrant relationship with Rwanda and has 60 students studying at the campus in Oklahoma, as well as 60 students studying online MBA programmes here in Rwanda."

The university authorities expect the school to be fully operational in 2015.

Oklahoma Christian University's 200 plus-acre campus is located in northeast Oklahoma City, the state capital of Oklahoma.

Established in 1950 in northeast Oklahoma City, US, Oklahoma Christian University last August launched its Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Kigali.

Dr Innocent Mugisha, an official with the Ministry of Education, hailed the launch, describing it as a timely boost to Rwanda's skills development efforts.

Oklahoma is one of the international training institutions that have lately inaugurated campuses in Rwanda, including Carnegie Mellon University, another prestigious US-based tertiary institution. Tens of Rwandan students have attended Oklahoma Christian University, with about 60 Rwandan students studying there at the moment.

Most of these students are on the Presidential Scholarship scheme championed by President Paul Kagame, while others are sponsored by the Students Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR).

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