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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

KIST, UK academy agree on grading system

After almost a year of disagreements over the grading system of Master of Communications Management (MCM) degree programme, Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and the United Kingdom Telecommunications Academy (UKTA), have reached an agreement.
Both institutions reached a consensus, end March, to settle for the Rwandan grading system for students doing the MCM course.
KIST wanted the grading system to comply with Rwanda Higher Education Council post graduate framework of 60 per cent pass mark, while UKTA maintained 40 as the course pass mark.
For the first four years, both the UK and KIST percentage marks and grades matched. KIST by introducing the Rwanda Higher Education system meant that the pass mark in the Rwanda system went above that used by the UKTA professors in the UK.
Prof. Steve Capewell, representative of UKTA told The New Times that when the UKTA professors marked work to the UK standard to keep the Rwanda programme identical to that run in the UK, students reaching a pass at UK standards were deemed to have failed in Rwanda.  
“It is important that students and employers understand that KIST and UKTA are fully in agreement to this and are looking forward to many more years of working together,” he said.
“Our misunderstandings have been solved and the students who were affected have been invited to complete their studies. Once it was agreed that grades would be given, for example a B grade being a pass, then it meant that there was no longer a problem and students that had been affected last year could then progress to complete their studies as they are currently doing.”
Capewell further said MCM will be offered online for students who are interested in doing it online.
In 2005, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UKTA, and KIST, paving way for delivery of the MCM in Rwanda.
The programme was officially launched at KIST in 2006, with an initial group of 20 students from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The MCM programme at KIST has been externally examined by Professor Izzat Darwazeh from the University College London, United Kingdom, and is delivered by highly qualified lecturers from the UK.
The programme, sponsored by the ITU and the UKTA, is aimed at broadening understanding of interdisciplinary knowledge for ICT and Telecommunications engineers and professionals.
Leopard Mbereyaho, the Dean of faculty of Engineering at KIST, said KIST has graduated over 150 students doing MCM and Master of Science in Operational Communications (MOC) which is also provided by UKTA through KIST. The grading system will also apply to MOC. Currently the course has about 40 students enrolled.
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