Rwandan institutions of higher of learning will now be starting the academic year in September to June in a move to take up the system used in other East African Community member states. This is a decision made by the Cabinet meeting that sat on Wednesday chaired by President Paul Kagame.
The major reasons for the new academic calendar is to harmonize it with the calendar for the East African Community member states, to have it match with the counties’ financial year, to ease the flow of students going to study in member states and to cut short the period of time spent by students before joining Universities.
However, Edward Munyamariza, the spokesperson of the civil society in Rwanda, says that although most of the time the government engages with the civil society on different decisions that have impact on the population, on this academic calendar decision, it was not consulted.
When contacted, the Minister of Education Pierre Damien Habumuremyi told Contact FM that before this decision was taken, all the stake holders were consulted and the allegations by the civil society are simply not true. The academic year has been starting from January to October while in other EAC member states, the year begins in September and ends in June.
The new decision will include changes in the existing syllabus to fit well in the integration requirements. Edward Munyaneza says these changes will come along with consequences, but the civil society is ready to talk with the government to reduce the risks.
The education sector in Rwanda has been facing a lot of changes recently due to its inclusion in the east African community, for example the use of English as a communication language in schools. However the Education minister says that these changes are inevitable.
The Education minister also said that the higher education institutions in the country have already started preparing themselves to adopt the new system in September next year. Normally the academic year lasts for ten months but if this system starts operating, the academic year will be reduced to eight months.