Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Govt to slash duration of tertiary education


Dr Biruta address the Senate yesterday

The Government has announced plans to redesign the curricula of tertiary institutions to ensure that most degrees are obtained in three years rather than the current four.

Appearing before the Senate to brief members on the revised university students’ loan scheme, the Minister for Education, Dr Vincent Biruta, said an advanced diploma will reduce by a year from the current three.

Dr Biruta told the senators that among the reasons they intend to repackage the curricula is to reduce money spent on university education.

“The Bachelor’s degree will reduce from four to three years where feasible. This will not affect the quality of tertairy education,” Dr Biruta said.

He said the move was also in line with aligning the system to international standards, were most Bachelor’s courses run for three years.

In a subsequent interview with this paper, the minister said that besides students spending much on education, government is also invests a lot of resources.

“We are not looking at reducing the number of courses; we will instead increase the number of contact hours in a year. Currently, students study for 30 weeks, if they did, say 40 weeks with the same resources, they can still complete the syllabus,” he said.

Marching policy

The minister said they will not introduce the system at ago, but will present it to the different colleges to see if they can use it on some courses.

Meanwhile, Biruta said the other alternative being looked at is the use of distance learning where he told senators that, with this system, the cost of education could reduce by 30 per cent.

“The open distance e-learning mode of delivery will be run under the College of Education of University of Rwanda (former Kigali Institute of Education). This model will be affordable to students as the cost is lower than 30 per cent of the current cost in conventional teaching mode,” he said.

The minister was appearing to explain a new policy shift, under which thousands of students were struck off government sponsorship.

Quality concerns

Senators raised concerns over the possibility of compromising education quality as contact hours are revised.

“We are already facing a big problem of quality of education in universities and with the three years arrangement we need assurance that the situation wont worsen,” Senator Chrysologue Karangwa said.

Karangwa previously served as a rector at the former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology and the National University of Rwanda.

Minister Buruta, formerly Senate president, however, told senators that there is a tendency where students go to universities just to get the paper and leave with no skills at all.

“As a strategy to break this, we are now embarking on equipping students with more practical skills than theory,” Dr Biruta said.

Govt to slash duration of tertiary education


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