Call to increase ICT research funding at universities

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Dr Eugene Mutimura : Call to increase ICT research funding at universities
Rwandan Minister of Education Dr Eugene Mutimura (Photo from Focus Africa)

Speaking to World University News at the eLearning Africa conference in Kigali, which was part of the 13th International Conference & Exhibition on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development, Rwandan Minister of Education Dr Eugene Mutimura shared that the country’s present key objective is to transform from being land-locked to land-linked and establish its higher educational institutions to research universities. Rwanda is to become the African ICT hub and aims at involving ICT-driven institutions, particularly universities, so as to leverage on the Internet of Things (IoT) for the advancement of social and economic capital.

Dr Mutimura also shared that the government is furnishing universities with the latest ICT infrastructure, as a key facilitator. At present, several programmes have been put in place at different universities and incubation centres, with projects such as ‘FinTech’, the integration of finance and technology. In addition, some academics have been tasked with the responsibility of researching the advancement of mobile money transfers and technology; while others have been assigned with the establishment of IT-embedded solutions to standardise services across various fields such as agriculture, tourism, environment and trade.

Also, ICT-enabled programmes and projects, with the support of institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, are aimed at producing engineers trained in the African context and make significant contributions to both Rwandan communities and the world. While the country’s internet penetration is still relatively low at 47 percent, according to the latest data from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), university students and graduates lack the intent to create applications and ICT-supported technologies.

Software developers and students believe that, with support of central government, transformations in ICT can strengthen synergies, allowing communities to connect with higher educational institutions. However, this support needed enhancement. This is because at present, researchers are still faced with red tape which serves as barriers at the local government level.

Source: University World News

Join us in the upcoming QS-MAPLE 2019 from 25-27 February 2019 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as we discuss the topic on “Research in the Middle East and Africa: Overcoming the Barriers”.