Ability to drive national growth while creating jobs


Three years ago, 23-year-old Genevav Uwamaria and his fellow students at the Interconnected Polytechnic Regional College in Karongni, Rwanda, researched traditional banana ripening and realized that there was something wrong.

The traditional process is costly, and when this happens for a long time, the students want to find a solution, ”said Uwamaria.

As part of their study, the students developed a prototype with the support of the college and developed a modern banana cooking machine called “Smart Urvina”, which means a smart banana cooking machine.

Our Smart Urvina has been tested and proven to be effective. The whole process of cooking bananas takes more than a week, but ours takes only three days. It has also been proven that ripe bananas are at the same level as Smart Urwina [as those ripened traditionally]”But as usual, there are no losses with ripe bananas,” said Uwamaria.

The machine is one of the young innovations of the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges (IPRCs), comparable to traditional universities.

Rwanda has eight IPRCs across the country, providing technical and hands-on skills to students. The colleges are assembled under the Rwanda Polytechnic (RP).

Rewards and training

In a country where most farmers grow bananas and handle banana-based beverages like banana beer, Uwamaria and his peers have won numerous awards for their innovations.

The awards include the National Innovation Research and Development Agency’s Innovation Award for Industry.

“We have received additional training to improve our products,” he said. Our Smart Urwina has been further improved. The industry agency has helped us showcase our products. “Most businesses are interested, and we hope the technology will embrace and benefit from banana-based beverage manufacturers.”

She hopes that after the launch of Smart Urvin, businesses will benefit from all three and encourage them to do more research.

RP Deputy Chancellor Dr. James Gashuba said the country wants polytechnic colleges to focus more on hand skills development to create more qualified engineers to drive national development.

The economy needs highly skilled, trained workers

He said Rwanda has learned from developed countries such as Germany and Switzerland that have developed strong and respected skills development systems in their technical and vocational education systems.

“Here in Rwanda, as in many other African countries, in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, technical training was degraded when they tried to go to universities to get what we call“ youth work ”. Keep them from working with their hands. ”

“It simply came to our notice then. To build an economy, you need highly skilled and skilled workers who love work, are proud of their work, are well-paid and well-respected. So we are trying to do that. ”

The IPRC was launched in 2008 by the IPRC in Kigali, the capital, and in the northern province of IPRC. Since then, many improvements have been made, Gashumba said.

“We have good workshops for production; Based on the college, we have developed strengths in various professions. ”

For example, the strength of the IPRC pipeline depends on ICT, solar and biogas activities.

“We have testimonies from colleagues. Our partners, such as the Water Sanitation Corporation and the Rwanda Energy Group, appreciate the role of the IPRC in producing much-needed skilled graduates. ”

If you go to industrial zones anywhere in the country, you will find our graduates working as technicians.

He said the IPRC was playing a role in helping companies and industries produce more and more locally produced products in Rwanda as the country launched a campaign to stimulate the market and import imports.

“Of course, the journey is still long, but we have made some progress. While we need to be supportive of these innovations and develop our students, there are many innovations in all colleges.

Bridging the gap

The 2019 Education Surveillance Survey report revealed that graduates from both TVET institutions and universities have no additional skills and experience. Job creation and business skills were also limited; University World News Reported at the time.

In the TVET programs, the employment rate for graduates was 50 percent, and the report reported that 63.4% of the total employment rate for university graduates was 63.4%. Unemployment rate for technical and vocational education graduates was 39.5% and for higher education institutions it was 18.5%.

According to the study, the employer’s satisfaction rate for students graduating from higher education institutions and TVETs was 78.2% and 74.6%, respectively.

Gashba said the colleges are involving government institutions and government industries to connect educational institutions with industry in order to graduate students and graduates.

He said a new policy is being developed to allow polytechnic students to spend less time in the classroom and the rest in the workplace.

“We recently met with private organizations to discuss a new system called duo training or workplace education where students spend 60% or even 70% of their time in the workplace,” he said.

The government is ready to continue its support

According to Rwandan Prime Minister Eduard Ngerente, the government has been working hard to support the development of polytechnic colleges.

Speaking to members of parliament at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) level in July 2021, Nigrente said the government plans to extend the education of polytechnics to those who are interested. Currently, all polytechnics offer advanced diplomas in the fields.

According to the Prime Minister, students at the university level have now earned a bachelor’s degree in technology and a master’s degree in technology.

“Our plan is to encourage more students to be interested in polytechnic education, to attend related courses, to find employment, and to improve their lives as they play a role in national development,” he said.

According to Dr. Christian Secomo Birame, Director General of the National Industrial Research and Development Agency, Nirda, the agency has been working with polytechnics and universities to encourage more students to be more creative.

For example, in the competition we have organized, we call on young innovators to come up with ideas or protocols that can create projects that will solve the problems facing our industry.

“Then we select better projects and reward them with cash prizes, but we expand them until they become viable projects that can be extended and sold to industries. It is an exercise that we want to continue to ensure that there is a link between industry, polytechnic and universities, ”he said.


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