Stakeholders in the education sector plan to introduce post-university practical programmes including mentorship to prepare graduates for the job market.
The Rwanda Polytechnic and National Employment Programme for example plan to begin short-term courses in carpentry, electronics, automobile, multimedia, IT/web development, IT/ computer hardware and networking.
But graduates say they prefer opportunities in their areas of study to boost their skills. Innocent Kayonga, for example, a graduate of finance, said additional courses would distract him from pursuing his career. “The only way to help us is to come up with a system that incorporates 50 per cent of the skills in school and 50 per cent of the practical skills employers seek,” he said.
Musa Mahoro, a graduate in Education, echoed his views. “We are requesting the government to forge a link with companies for internship for all graduates,” said Mr Mahoro. “I do not need additional skills but a chance to improve on my area of study.”
Rwanda Polytechnic vice chancellor James Gashumba challenged universities to come up with alumni mentorship programmes.
“We need more avenues where experienced working graduates mentor those still in university,” he said. Caroline Nabuzale, a lecturer at Mount Kenya University in Rwanda said the Ministry of Education should work on establishing an academia-industry partnership framework.
She said a flexible curriculum that could be easily adopted to the labour market would better expose students.
The struggle to have skilled graduates isn’t the role of a teacher or government only but also the labor industry should partner to make it happen,” said Ms Nabuzale.