Posted on18 December, 2016 | 12:22

UR students call for reinstating of internship allowances

The University of Rwanda (UR) has announced that it is discussing with partners about how internship fees (that it has recently suspended) can be covered by other education partners.

The proposal follows many vulnerable students’ complaints on frustration due to the fees suspension to all students since this academic year.

University of Rwanda has six colleges. Over 23,000 students out of 32,000 students are provided bursary support (tuition fees and monthly allowances) and these were also previously allowed internship stipend according to officials.

Students spend the money in paying rent, meals, transport and other needs when they are in various parts of the country.

“I come from a poor family and I benefit from government sponsorship otherwise I would have dropped out of school. When I recently got an internship, it was difficult to pay rent in Gicumbi district after suspending the Rwf30,000 internship allowance.

Fortunately, I found some family friends in Burera District who are currently accommodating me”, said Theogene Munyentwari, a student at University of Rwanda’s College of Education.

Prudence Rubingisa , the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance at UR said the average internship allowance for a student was Rwf20,000 per month because they carry out the internship in different periods .However the amount differs depending on courses pursued.

“The money was from our own budget generated by the university not from the government budget. We suspended the fees because our income generating means do not match with the cost,” explained Rubingisa.

Loan can cover the fees

Students who talked to the Sunday Times said they had petitioned the University that the fees should be covered under bursary loan scheme which also covers tuition fees and monthly allowances.

The deputy vice chancellor also confirmed that many students cannot get fend for themselves while on internship.

“We are talking with the Education ministry, Rwanda Education Board and Development Bank of Rwanda ( BRD) on how we can find other financial alternatives to give them internship fees under the same loan scheme which is used to give them tuition fees and monthly allowances,” Rubingisa said.

The Minister for Education, Papias Musafiri recently told Parliament that of all who request such bursary support, only 40 per cent get it due to lack of funds but added that very soon the issues will be sorted.

Internship hosting institutions should intervene

The deputy vice chancellor said the work done by internees in institutions should be valued in terms of money and therefore they can get some facilitation fees from those institutions.

Rubingisa said, the model can operate as the one used by National Capacity Building Secretariat in conjunction with institutions where internees are paid Rwf60,000 and the institution adds other motivation fees every month.

We want to sit with banks, firms, hospitals, schools, institutions, companies and discuss how we can partner to handle the issue, he added.

Story by Editorial/MUHABURA.rw


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