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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How the "One University" will work

The Education Ministry and other stakeholders have agreed to set up a task force that will guide the establishment of one public university in Rwanda.

The task force will oversee the transition process at the renamed University of Rwanda until the appointment of the Vice Chancellor and senior management team. 

According to a brief on the matter that The New Times has got a copy, the taskforce shall be appointed by the Cabinet, possibly before end of 2012.

Speaking to The New Times during a telephone interview on Sunday, Education Minister Dr. Vincent Biruta said he was hopeful the decision will be reached soon.

“I do not set the Cabinet agenda. I just propose. But it will be done soon.’

A brief by Higher Education Council Executive Director, Prof. Geoffrey Rugege, on the progress of the project, shows that one of the key tasks to be performed by the task force is to conduct an assessment of the existing academic and administrative staff to be reappointed in the new structure.

From the face of it, its initial work will provide the foundations of the University’s organisational and functional structures and its strategic plan determining such issues as its headquarters, recruitment procedures among other things.

“If we talk of colleges, we mean specialised colleges; say a college of medicine, agriculture…not geographical colleges,” Biruta said.

Under the new arrangement, all of the existing seven public universities shall be structured into specialised colleges or schools affiliated to University of Rwanda.

Specifically, the University of Rwanda will ensure the quality and relevance of undergraduate programmes; accelerate the development of post-graduate studies and achieve financial sustainability.

Public universities depend largely on government grants for their operational and developmentbudgeting.


In 2004, the University of South Africa (Unisa ) merged with Technikon South Africa and incorporated the distance education component of Vista University. The combined institution retained the name University of South Africa and it is now organised by colleges and schools.

University of South Africa had begun way back as far as 1873, modeled on the University of London.

It was an incubator from which other universities in S. Africa descended.

Today, Unisa offers unparalleled high quality distance learning education on the African continent.

In 2004 still, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)merged with the Victoria University of Manchester(commonly called the University of Manchester) to form a new entity, The University of Manchester.

UMIST was born in 1824 during the industrial revolution when a group of Manchester businessmen and industrialists met to establish the Mechanics’ Institute in Manchester where artisans could learn basic science, particularly mechanics and chemistry.

Specialisation in scientific research has made University of Manchester a darling of funds for research in medical equipment technology in that part of the globe.

“How the transition taskforce balances operational efficiency at University of Rwanda without compromising the evolution of academic discipline is a tricky balancing act,” a university don speaking to The New Times on conditions of anonymity said.

The government has been merging public institutions to improve on cost and operational efficiency, the pioneer of such reforms was the creation of RDB which brought together principally former investment, tourism and ICT promotion departments.

Source: The New Times

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