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University of Rwanda reopens for all students as Covid-19 cases drop nationwide

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 13 November, 2020 13:55:34PM
University of Rwanda reopens for all students as Covid-19 cases drop nationwide

The University of Rwanda, (UR), on Tuesday, November 11 announced that it will effective November 30 reopen for both first and second-year students after more than eight months of digital learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The institution said that the returning students will join their third, fourth and fifth-year counterparts who resumed in-person class sessions since October. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, schools in Rwanda adopted a new normal as part of the measures to further strengthen the fight against the viral virus. Below are five things you should know about UR’s plan to resume physical classrooms for all students. 

Students allowed to live outside the campus 

According to Ignatius Kabagambe, head of corporate communications at UR, there will be flexibility in accommodation of the students.

The decision is contrary to an earlier plan of requesting all the students to live in campus hostels.

Kabagambe pointed out that if the number of returning students exceeds the institution’s hostels, then students will be allowed to use hostels outside of the University.

“The flexibility is there. If capacity of the hostels in the institution is exceeded, of course, students will be allowed to live outside”.

He added that details will be provided by the respective colleges. As it stands UR has a total of 6 colleges and 9 campuses.

New blended learning model

The University has adopted a blended learning model that will allow students to either learn digitally through in-person class sessions.

Kabagambe explained that the development was informed by the fact that the capacity of students couldn’t be comprehended in a single model.

“Where possible it will be done. Those who have the capacity will be targeted to ensure those who don’t have tools access their classrooms”.

Kabagambe added that the model can be used both at home and at school.

Meanwhile, the University has also faced scrutiny of low to no internet which is projected to hinder the vice.

“Internet is now our priority. There is more to be done, now that we will have more students learning online,” he responded.

University to address laptops issue

Kabagambe admitted to the recent cases which emerged that first-year students had not received their laptops, which he said the University is currently trying to fix.

“The problem of laptops is known. And we are looking into the matter. What we know is that there is good progress”.

He noted that the delay was triggered by an earlier scenario in which the University distributed laptops that were ‘non-functional’.

“We met challenges previously of accepting laptops that were not effective. They were not effective at all. And the University of Rwanda will not afford to give room for the same mistake.”

“We are therefore careful on this matter and we hope that by the time the laptops come in, they don’t get spoilt easily”.

Kabagambe also said that the University will support those students who received the ‘fake’ laptops.

New approach to distribute bursaries

Kabagambe also said that there has been a reform in the way student bursaries have been distributed in the past.

He was responding to concerns of some students who have not received their bursaries since last month.

“The new approach means that students will only be given bursaries after they have reported to campus.”

“Indeed some students have not gotten their bursaries yet. Some things have changed after all these months. But these are cases that we will settle individually.” He added.

Graduation probable for next year

Final year students at the University of Rwanda were initially supposed to graduate this year. But taking into the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted education across the country, it has emerged that students are likely to wait for next year.

According to Kabagambe, there is no precise date for the ceremony.

“They are things you can’t precise and set a certain date”.

However, when pressed for a precise answer, he said, “But it might be next year. It is most probably next year”.

Meanwhile, he highlighted, “But we assure students that they will be provided with documents to support them while applying for jobs”.

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