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Africa / Education

Universities Lack PhD Holders In Rwanda

Universities Lack PhD Holders In Rwanda
The Higher Education Council (HEC) has established that thirty percent of academic and teaching staff members ought to hold PhDs, but universities in Rwanda are having trouble meeting this requirement. Universities Lack PhD Holders In Rwanda as many of them could not get to the 30 per cent.

At least 30% of a university’s academic staff should hold PhDs in the future, according to an earlier ministerial order focusing on education standards (No 001/MINEDUC/2021 of 20/10/2021).

According to the HEC, as part of a transitional phase, all universities and higher education institutions must increase the percentage of academics with PhDs to 27.7% by the 2023–2024 academic year. They should work toward achieving this goal within the next few years.

Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the council’s general director, said that it was keeping an eye on things. She was nevertheless encouraged by the statistics, which showed that the percentage of academic staff with PhDs had increased from 16.9% in the academic year 2016-17 to 22.7% in the academic year 2020-21.

However, only 22% of the University of Rwanda (UR)’s academic and teaching staff currently hold PhDs.

In 2020, the University of Rwanda had 350 PhD-holding lecturers or 22% of the total staff, and another 200 were pursuing PhD studies, according to official data. In the next five years, the university hopes to have 60% of lecturers with PhDs, which would put it on par with many other international universities.

However, the transitional goal has not yet been met. In a similar vein, private universities are having difficulty reaching this goal. The president of the private universities in Rwanda, Professor Callixte Kabera, claims that previously, universities and higher learning institutions were required to employ at least 15% of PhD holders as academics and teachers.

He stated, “It was still a challenge for some universities, and now that we are asked to increase the number to 30 per cent, it is an uphill task.” He stated that it will always be challenging for some higher education institutions, particularly private ones, to increase the number.

“Having 30% PhD holders is not easy. We have met with private universities, and we will continue working on it, despite the fact that everyone is doing their best,” he stated.

He explained that obtaining a PhD costs approximately €80,000 and takes three to four years.

Despite this, universities lack sufficient financial resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to investigate local and international methods for hiring PhD holders. Because paying a PhD holder is difficult, this means that we also need to look for additional sources of funding, he noted.

Challenges, according to Professor Kabera, will have an impact on the sector’s and individual institutions’ budgets as universities struggle to recruit more PhD holders.

Because it is difficult to pay a PhD holder, salaries will also rise, which will affect tuition costs. However, it also indicates that the recruited PhD holders will participate in income-generating initiatives to boost the university’s earnings, he stated.

“There is a need to increase the number of PhD holders at universities, and the problem is even more pressing in some specializations. While some universities are making progress along this path, others are still small and do not have any senior PhD holders who are able to provide strategic leadership guidance for teaching and research, he pointed out.

When it comes to the writing of project proposals, the problem is even worse. He went on to say that research and the development of academic human resources need to be significantly improved. Only the University of Rwanda offers PhD degrees in a select number of programs in Rwanda. Additionally, the University of Rwanda collaborates with Swedish universities that receive funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Professor Kabera called for greater cooperation with the University of Rwanda and other international institutions so that faculty members can continue their education while continuing to teach at their respective institutions.

Universities Lack PhD Holders In Rwanda

Father Dr Balthazar Ntivuguruzwa, the vice-chancellor of the Institut Catholique de Kabgayi, said that it might be hard to hire PhDs at the 30% threshold because PhDs cost more and universities need more time to meet the goal.

We required additional time to prepare. Additionally, I believe that the number of PhD holders as well as the required skills are affected by the decision. We have masters’ holders with a wide range of experience,” he added.

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