Rwanda: A New Education Hub
As per Rwandan President Paul Kagame education is more than the learning process in schools, it does provide not only the high-level skills necessary for every labour market but also acquiring values needed to achieve individual potential, hence a critical component of human and societal development. He made this statement during the graduation ceremony for University of Rwanda students in July 2016.
Rwanda, as per its Government policy, considers education a critical investment for the country’s future growth and development. As per the list of the goals listed to be achieved by Vision 2020, a Government Development Program, Rwanda aims to develop skilled human capital, including education, health and information technology. This is evidenced by the increased share of the national budget allocated to the education sector, which is projected to increase from 17% in 2012/13 to 22% in 2017/18.
In the past few years, the education system in Rwanda has gone through an impressive period of growth especially in terms of access. Number of Higher Learning Institutions increased significantly, with impressive growth in the private institutions, outnumbering the public institutions. As per the 2014 Educational Statistical Handbook 2014 total combined enrolment in higher learning institutions increased from 62,734 in 2010 to 87,013 in 2014. Most significant growth has been in the private sector which holds 49,234 (57%) students at the end of 2014.
Rwandan university admission is highly competitive, especially in fields such as medicine, engineering, law, and pharmacy. As per the education in Rwanda report available on the US Embassy in Rwanda website, the quality of education in Rwanda is considered reasonably high, despite lacking material resources. In an effort to attract international enrollment, all Rwandan universities operate on a modular, semester system. Most international students are from neighboring countries where French is dominant and want to adhere to a bilingual system.
Impressive development in infrastructure and internationalisation of the quality standards in higher learning institutions by Rwanda has placed the country in the category of a regional educational hub for higher education in Africa.
Regional hubs not only attract a share of the global population of mobile students but are becoming favored destinations for students within regions. Lower travel costs and cultural familiarity are part of the appeal.
Below are some of the factors which make Rwanda a favoured destination for higher education in Africa:
All Rwandan universities follow a uniform modular, semester based system.
Rwanda provides a bilingual advantage to its neighbours.
Rwandan university admission is highly competitive, especially in fields such as medicine, engineering, law, and pharmacy.
Presence of Global university campuses in Rwanda offering high end programmes
Cost of living in Rwanda is far lower than other regional hubs like Cape Town, Accra and Mauritius. (Source: www.numbeo.com).
Same tuition fee for East African Countries students.
Comparative low fee, as compared to other regional education hubs in Africa.
As per report published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics ( http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-student-flow-viz.aspx#sthash.OUDvQ16Q.dpuf), students from sub-Saharan Africa, who are the second most mobile, are staying closer to home. According to the latest data, 264,774 students studied abroad in 2013, up from 204,900 in 2003. But, in this period the outbound mobility ratio in the region dropped from 6% in to 4.0%. The shift suggests that domestic higher education systems are expanding steadily. As per the report the share of mobile students studying within the region increased in sub-Saharan Africa is from 18% to 22%.
Above all statistics and facts clearly points towards rapid creation of regional education hubs in Africa, with Rwanda eying for a big share.