15 Feb 2022

The new Master’s degree in Circular Agro-Economy is hosted by the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Economics (RDAE) ; School of Agriculture and Food Sciences (SAFS) ; College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (CAVM). This new academic programme is composed of three main themes, namely : Circular Economy, Agricultural Economics and Applied Entrepreneurship. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the teaching activities will necessitate academic staffs from the different colleges especially from both College of Business and Economics (CBE) and CAVM.

The objective of this workshop with different stakeholders was organized in order to check HEC’s requirements for a new academic programme before it is submitted for the accreditation process. Participants in this workshop were invited to share their views about the new programme regarding the rationale, content, mode of delivery and also to validate the programme. Invited stakeholders included some quality assurance experts from both UR and other private higher learning institutions. Industry partners were also represented by Urwibutso Enterprises.

In his opening remarks, the College Principal, Guillaume Nyagatare thanked all people who supported this programme from its initial stage particularly the former Principal of CBE, Dr. Faustin Gasheja and Nathan K. Taremwa, the Principal Investigator of the project. Looking at the current progress, he said that there is a hope that the programme will be successful. He thanked also participants for accepting the invitation and coming to workshop, particularly, Assoc. Prof. Charles Bucagu who is in charge of research from RAB, other people from outside the University of Rwanda and finally the academic staffs from CBE and CAVM. He invited everyone to participate actively in the workshop and to freely give their opinions about the new M Sc. academic programme.

Mr. Nathan K. Taremwa, the Principal Investigator (PI) presented the background of the project and the rationale of the new master of science degree in circular agro-economy. He said that this new Master’s programme in Circular Agro-Economy is part of a larger project entitled : “Advancing socio-economic development in Rwanda through Circular Agro-Economy (Rwanda CAE)”. He said that the project is funded by the Germany Academic Exchange services (DAAD) from 2021-2024.

The rationale / uniqueness of this new master degree is that it is an interdisciplinary programme bringing together two or more colleges in the curriculum design and implementation. Besides, the new programme is expected to respond to the market needs as the curriculum has been designed in consultation with both University and Industry partners.

After this brief presentation of the project, Members appreciated the aspect of interdisciplinarity of the programme that is based on a joint cooperation and collaboration of lecturers from CBE and CAVM. One of them said that the programme comes at the right time because students were facing a challenge of accessing knowledge from two different colleges due to the registration requirements that can’t allow them to register in two different programmes in the same period. Since this is an interdisciplinary programme across CAVM and CBE it will help to break this barrier and suggested that this initiative can be extended to other colleges.

Participants wanted also some clarification on how the linkage will be established between industry partners and student learning. Students will be linked with these partners to help them to learn from the models that they use. Since project don’t have funds to take our students in Germany, Partners from Germany will engage with the students virtually while in classroom. And for Nyirangarama will take students for industrial placement in the form of internship and field visits or the staff of Sina Gerard will come and discuss with students on some topics while they are in classroom. Participants suggested that the project team can also think about the possibility of students working on the specific topics or challenges that Nyirangarama is facing in the form of research projects(thesis) or practical activities, this will help Sina Gerard to address the specific issues that they are facing for improving their products.

Participants suggested that there is a need to make this programme more practical. This raised the issue of raising the fees for field work activities to differentiate it with previous academic programmes offered by CAVM. There is also a need to define clearly the exit award of students : how will students be guided in their specialization of this interdisciplinary program. Will there be specialized in the technological part of waste management with some economics skills ? Or will they specialize in economics related to waste management ?

In his closing remarks, the Principal of the College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine thanked the PI for Rwanda CAE and the team for organizing the workshop. He also thanked all the participants for having responded to the invitation and their contribution in structuring the program. He also insisted that short courses be given emphasis in the project.

Reported by :

Dr. Liberata Mukamana / CBE
Dr. Celestin Bigirimana / CAVM
Edited by :
Jacqueline Umupfasoni/PR&CEO


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