Students hit by suspension of ‘sub-standard’ universities

Thousands of students have been hit by the total or partial closure since March of 10 private universities which failed to meet satisfactory standards of teaching.

The Mahatma Gandhi University in Kigali looked like a ghost campus, with padlocked entrance and empty classrooms, following an audit and the suspension in mid-March of its activities by authorities who judged that the institution lacked facilities and did not offer quality education, reported Radio France International or RFI.

The closure was brutal and to the detriment of the students, said teacher Litan Acharjee. “It was not the right decision. A university is not a grocer’s that you can close without creating problems. Because of the suspension our 600 students are suffering,” RFI reported him as saying. He said that during the three months of closure the university had made much effort to raise standards while waiting for a new audit.

Emmanuel, a medical student in a provincial university under partial suspension who had paid nearly €1,600 (US$1,800) for his course, was also bitter, reported RFI. “Even if there was a problem, maybe it should have been possible to sort it out before the beginning of the school year, but the ministry decided in the middle of the year to throw thousands of students on to the street. At the beginning of the suspension we had things to do, we said we would just have a short break, but it’s gone on for a very long time.”

But Emmanuel Muvunyi, executive director of the Higher Education Council, said the suspensions were made for the good of the students. “It’s not correct to say that the students are losing a lot during this period of suspension,” RFI reported him as saying. “The reverse is true – the suspension of courses is aimed at ensuring they follow a quality education in future.”

The 10 universities have until September at the latest to raise their standards, or risk being closed permanently, reported RFI.

This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.