The Higher Education Council commendably came out to block the graduation of students of medicine and dental surgery from the University of Rwanda.
The decision came after an education quality audit conducted by HEC, which raised the red flag over the quality of aspects of the training offered by the School of Medicine.
The University of Rwanda, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, HEC, the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council and student leaders, all met to discuss these issues.
The students of medicine have not been blocked from graduation per se, as a matter of fact, they will graduate, but after doing an intensive four-month internship. However, the graduation of students of dental surgery has been postponed because their case is much more complex.
It came to light that in some of the modules the dental surgery students were taught by unqualified lecturers, and a decision has been made that they will have to do these modules again, this time under qualified lecturers, which is the responsible thing to do.
The recommendation to HEC and the education sector regulatory bodies is to start these quality audits a bit earlier, as opposed to waiting when students are about to graduate.
Although HEC later allowed the students to graduate after a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education and University of Rwanda, we must let HEC do its work without the politicking that has engulfed this situation.
All over the world, stringent requirements matter when it comes to churning out medical professionals because human lives matter.
People should never be experimented on by graduates, who are not yet ready, and students should never be allowed to graduate for the sake of it.
In short, requirements for medical graduates must never be compromised and the medical council should not bow to political pressure of any kind.
UR needs use this chance to improve its education rather than appear to simply focus on having a high number of graduates.
The debacle has obviously sent shockwaves throughout the student community, with many wondering why a medical practitioner is allowed to graduate even after being deemed not ready.
As one of the gatekeeping institutions, HEC deserves the credit for the survey it conducted on the quality of medical students from UR.
HEC’s job could be the difference between life and death, so there is no room for complacency when it comes to giving the green light to who is graduating to attend to the health of people.
But even if it takes baby steps to get a few highly qualified doctors and medical specialists, let us take that path; for it is better than simply having so many graduates who are not prepared.