14 February 2013

Rwanda: NUR Psychology Graduates Cry Foul

Graduates of Clinical Psychology from the National University of Rwanda (NUR) have raised concerns over 'being snubbed' by employers in favour of their colleagues from institutions such as the Kigali Health Institute (KHI).

The graduates argue that there are some jobs which, depending on their academic background, they should compete for, but are always snubbed and instead those from KHI are given priority.

"For instance, we have the capacity to work in mental health services, but once such opportunities come up, we are not short-listed for interviews," said Maurice Nsanzimana, a NUR clinical psychology graduate.

But NUR dismissed the claims, saying the labour market for the profession is still limited.

Dr Bonfils Safari, the director of quality atNUR, said though there has not been any research on how many clinical psychology graduates have been hired, the graduates compete fairly in job opportunities.

"Of course, the market is somehow limited, but the curriculum is designed to suit the demands of society and we cannot stop getting new students as they can even seek jobs outside the country," he said.

But the graduates argue there are opportunities, which they think should be offered to them, but they are not taken into consideration.

Philbert Mwamba, who graduated in 2011 but remains jobless, argues that having studied other courses like management, they should be allowed to compete in different areas and not to be confined to counselling.

"At university, we studied different courses such as psychology and sociology. Why can't we be allowed to work at, for instance, the directorate of discipline in schools? But they say we did not do education," Mwamba said.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, admits there is a shortage of jobs, especially in clinical psychology. However, he urges the graduates not to compare themselves to those from KHI because every job requires specific qualifications.

"The post that requires a mental health specialist cannot be filled by a clinical psychologist, they are different," Ndagijimana told The New Times.

The PS, though, said while stakeholders are still working on how to expand the job market for clinical psychologists, graduates are eligible for other public and private services, which do not require specialisation.

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