Public Higher Learning Institutions are set to receive Rwf900 million from the European Union to enhance quality education in strategic fields, including food science and technology, environmental protection as well as safety and management.
The funding will facilitate a review of the current curricula in Higher Learning Institutions as well as promote exchange learning between Rwanda and European universities so as to improve the employability of graduates.
Rwanda becomes the sixth country in Africa to benefit from this project dubbed Enhancement of Rwandan Higher Education in strategic fields for sustainable growth.
The project will also set up new Masters and PhD programmes, introduce e-learning, virtual learning practices in addition to internationalising the local education system.
The University of Rwanda, INES Ruhengeri, IPRC Polytechnic School in Musanze and the University of Technology and Arts of Byumba (UTAB) are the institutions that have been identified to benefit from the project.
Nicola Bellomo, the EU Ambassador to Rwanda, said the project will be officially launched Monday, February 17.
"The programme also allows millions of students to learn new languages, exchanging cultures from different countries," he said. "As the European Union delegation we understand that this is an ambitious country which aims at development for its citizens, and I believe that development can't happen in isolation. We all have a responsibility to play and I am confident that today's milestone awaits an impact in the education sector of Rwanda."
Going forward, he added, that the 3-year project is expected to attract more local universities at the end of the pilot phase.
The University of Rwanda's acting Deputy Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, Emile Bienvenu, said there was a shortage of skilled personnel in the areas of food science and technology, environmental protection, safety and management.
For instance, he noted, the University of Parma, is Europe's leading University in food science while Germany's University of Applied Science Cologne was also leading in regards to environmental management, which is why they are ideal partners.
"It is true that we have been producing graduates in Food Science, but there was a lack of a practical approach.
"Currently there is a shortage of innovation in entrepreneurship, scientists come up with very good products, but fall short of innovative ways to sell their products."
Bienvenu also pointed out that the initiative is in line with the National Strategy for Transformation that aims at tackling malnutrition by reducing stunting among children to 19 per cent and encouraging food fortification.
For Roberto Valentino, the Project Manager, 15 students from European Universities are expected to arrive in Rwanda as the project officially kicks off.