The University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Khartoum, Sudan, plans to relocate to Rwanda to give its students hope and a second chance to complete their studies, The New Times has learnt.
Under the development, UMST management said, more than 7,000 students who were stranded owing to the security crisis in Sudan would be gradually transferred to Rwanda to complete their studies.
Speaking to The New Times in an exclusive interview, Dr. Suzan Homeida, UMST deputy chairperson, who lives in Rwanda, confirmed the development, noting that negotiations are ongoing between the University's senior management, Rwanda's Higher Education Council (HEC), as well as other stakeholders. The Council is in charge of all higher learning institutions in the country.
"The plan is to relocate our campus. With the help of government officials, we are now negotiating with HEC to see that our campus is relocated," she added.
"It is a realistic approach, and HEC has been very supportive going by the current status of the process."
The senior hematologist noted that the University's management has already identified three options for the new premises. But she declined to give further details until the ongoing talks are finalized.
With over 14 faculties, UMST is a co-educational, mainly medical-oriented college in Sudan. It was first opened in 1995, and by 2017, it was already among the top high-ranking medical universities in Africa.
More students arrive
Homeida disclosed that a second batch of Sudanese students is set to arrive in Rwanda for the next academic year which begins on November 28.
Out of the estimated 180 students, she said, over 150 students had confirmed and were ready to jet into the country.
"We are already receiving some students and a bigger batch is set to arrive on Friday, November 24," she told The New Times.
The group follows the first batch of 160 students that was officially received on August 2, in Rwanda.
Out of the 160 students, she said, over 20 have graduated, mainly in dentistry.
The new group will consist of only first-year students.
"My feeling is that the second batch will integrate better, and easily blend in the society, especially now that they are young students between the ages of 18 and 19."
All the arriving students will be taken to the University of Rwanda's School of Medicine and Health Sciences, based in Huye District, slightly over 120 kilometers south of Kigali.
"Another advantage is that Huye District is more or less an education hub for Rwanda because of the culture and the environment brought by thousands of international students. With that ecosystem, the integration is quicker and better."
Homeida also said: "The appetite from other Sudanese Universities to give us their students is increasing, but the current capacity is a hindrance for us. And of course, the affordability, where most of their parents have no jobs because of their current crisis. But it is something we are keeping a close eye on."