News / Africa

Rwandan Educator Calls for Greater Cooperation between Universities and Labor Markets

Silas Lwakabamba, rector of National University of Rwanda, calls on technology companies to offer student internships.

Multimedia

Audio
  • listen to interview with Rwandan educator Silas Lwakabamba

William Eagle

This is Part 2 of a 5-part series: Strengthening Governance in Africa
Go to Part:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


An African education specialist and top university official is calling for greater cooperation between institutions of higher learning and the private sector. Silas Lwakabamba is the rector of the National University of Rwanda in Butare.  He says such cooperation can promote growth and employment.

He made his comments at a recent conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on the importance of strengthening Africa’s political and economic institutions, or capacity building.  The meeting was sponsored by the international agency, the Africa Capacity Building Foundation, based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Rwandan Educator Calls for Greater Cooperation between Universities and Labor Markets
Rwandan Educator Calls for Greater Cooperation between Universities and Labor Markets

Lwakabamba says in East Africa, there are hundreds of schools and other training institutions.  In Rwanda alone, there are 26, nearly half of which are privately owned.

But, he says, there’s little formal cooperation between the schools and the employers.

“We don’t work that closely together.  Most of the time, the private sector comes and picks the best students as employees, but they don’t participate much in the training of the graduates. There’s a need to have better linkages between the training institutions and the labor market.

“For example,” continues Lwakabamba, “in Africa, we don’t do proper studies to see how the training institutions can link up with the labor markets.  We don’t know the type of people [private industry will] need now, or in five years, or in 10 years.  If you need a specialist in mining or engineering in Rwanda, you have to plan ahead of time because it takes five years or so to train them.”

Also, he says the private sector needs to get involved.   He says they should provide feed-back to the training institutions, by letting them know if they are producing students with skills needed by the business community.  The private sector could get involved in teaching at the universities and offering internships for prospective employees.

“Sometimes they take it as a burden to take our students for internships, [though] eventually they’re going to [hire them].  I think it helps if they can accept them for an internship, since they’re going to come back to them.”

Is the private sector in Rwanda and East Africa large enough to take on training responsibilities?

Lwakabamba says yes:  “The private sector in Rwanda is growing fast. One of the fastest growing sectors is [information communications technologies, ICT]…especially mobile and Internet services.  The three [ICT] companies in Rwanda can make a lot of contributions to the training institutions.  Kenya industries are more developed and they can make quite a contribution to training institutions.”

Silas Lwakabamba, rector of the National University of Rwanda, says the private sector should work more closely with educational institutions to place students in the work force
Silas Lwakabamba, rector of the National University of Rwanda, says the private sector should work more closely with educational institutions to place students in the work force

He says the matter is important because for full development, studies shows Rwanda has about 40,000 university graduates, but needs more – about 10 percent of its population.

“For sustainable development, he says, “you need more graduates than what you have at the moment.  We have about 10 million people in Rwanda, and we need one million people (trained). We are currently producing only around 5,000 graduates per year.  And if you need 10 percent, it would then take you 200 years unless you do something to increase capacity and access in higher education.  We cannot afford a “business as usual” approach.

He says other ideas for improving capacity include long-distance learning such as the Internet and other technologies.  He says that should not be hard for Rwanda, which is a leader in fiber-optic broadband in Africa.  He says the country’s Internet network will be used this year as part of pilot project by the National University of Rwanda aimed at training students in the western region.

“We are planning to combine different technologies. Once in a while, our teachers may [physically] go to work with students, or we send [to them by car] hard copies, books.  You can send CDs, or use TV and radio.  With fiber optic cables, you can use videoconferencing, too.

Rwanda is able to provide much of the training needed to build its technological infrastructure.  But it must still send its students abroad for training in specialized fields such as geological sciences and engineering.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid