Rwandan Youth Are Useless, Says Kagame:But What About His Useless Higher Education?

By David Himbara

Rwandan president Paul Kagame blasted Rwandan youth whom he says his regime spends a lot of money on but don’t want to work. Wait a minute. What sort of higher education does his regime provide young people? Do Rwandan youth who graduate from Kagame’s higher education have any skills to offer any employer?

Let us look at the facts. Back in 2013, Kagame, threw all public learning institutions together to form his University of Rwanda (UR) through the law no 71/2013 of 10/09/2013. The Rwandan ruler seemed to believe that merging dysfunctional institutions would lead to one successful one. The newly established university claimed that it had the following values:

  • Academic excellence
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Freedom of inquiry
  • Student-centred
  • Humanitarian perspective
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Social justice

So, how is Kagame’s university doing in terms of delivering these values? Let us look at the facts and figures of Kagame’s university as of March 2016:

From this UR’s table, we see that of 31,760 students in Kagame’s university, only 0.1 percent are pursuing PhD studies, 3.1 percent Master’s, and 1.3 percent postgraduate certificate. This indicates than 96 percent of UR’s students will end up in the Rwandan labor market with a bare minimum of education of 3 years.

Mr Kagame, this is total failure — bachelor degree-holders without at least some postgraduate certificate cannot be any good in the work place. Only in Rwanda would such a thing be imagined, as you do Mr President.

Let us look at your teachers Mr President:

Look at this UR’s Table Mr President. There are more teachers in your university with Bachelor’s degrees than PhD-holders, Sir. Almost 20 percent of your teachers hold Bachelor’s degrees Mr President. That is like a primary school graduate teaching primary school pupils, and a secondary school graduate teaching secondary school students. Mr President, this is total failure on your part — 22 years since you took charge of Rwanda Sir, higher education in Rwanda is a mess.

Now Mr President, you say that Rwanda is a more competitive economy than the rest of East African countries. You might not know this but competitiveness is driven by human capital. Let us look at how your University of Rwanda compares with East African universities sir.

Your Excellence, your university as you can see is among the world’s worst. There you are — in 5,486 position globally. That is no good.

More bad news. Here is where you stand among African universities Sir — you are in 140th position.

That is very bad. Let me now share with you how East African universities are ranked within Africa, Sir.

  • University of Nairobi ranked 4th in Africa
  • Makerere University in Uganda, 11th;
  • Dar Es Salaam in the 33rd position;
  • Kenyatta University, 30th;
  • Moi University 54th;
  • Mbarara University of Science and Technology, 58th;
  • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, 68th;
  • Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture, 70th;
  • University of Rwanda, 140th.

So, what do you see here Mr Kagame? I put it to you that you have failed Rwandan youth. They are the ones who should be lecturing to you — not you to them. Your higher education will be one of your legacies, among other failures.