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Tue. Jun 28th, 2022

INES-RUHENGERI: Addressing Developmental Needs through Community Engagement, Skills Development, Research

Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda Dr. Ron Adam (C) cutting the ribbon with Bishop Vincent Harolimana (L) and STEM CEO, Mr. Edwin Kumfa (R) PHOTO/Courtesy

By George Kalisa

INES-Ruhengeri, Institute of Applied Sciences, the best private University and Second in the country after the University of Rwanda (Webometrics Ranking of World Universities – July 2021] is geared to be the centre of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The University is recommitting to internalization and digitalization of all its programmes as well as linking the academia and industry. These aspirations are strategic driving keys embedded in INES 2019-2024 strategic plan. Forerunner programmes towards the achievement of this goal are ongoing.   

On November 29, 2021, INES-RUHENGERI in partnership with the Israeli Embassy in Rwanda, inaugurated the STEM power model centre.

“The centre will be a hub of innovation, industrialization and entrepreneurship especially for the university and secondary school students in the surrounding area,” observed Bishop Harolimana Vincent, the Chancellor of INES-RUHENGERI. He added that it will be open to the youth who will need to develop their capabilities in creativity and technology innovations.  

There is high optimism that STEM Power Model Centre will help the 18-year-old Northern Province based University pursue its commitment to respond to the prevailing discrepancy between academia and labour markets through community engagement.

 INES-Ruhengeri located in the heart of Musanze city continues to live up to its mission of finding solutions to problems that affect society by offering specialized university education stimulated by research.

And, the University has through research contributed massively to the healing of the Rwandan society following the destruction caused by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The University toils hard to instil values and skills that empower the beneficiaries to improve their communities and make the world a better place for humanities.   

“We shall support this activity by all our available means,” remarked H.E President Paul Kagame while officiating the laying of the Foundation stone for the construction of the Campus, on June 30,  2003.

The creation of INES-Ruhengeri is grounded in building signs of hope, contributing to unity and reconciliation, and contributing to the country’s sustainable development.  

It is familiar knowledge that INES-Ruhengeri, Institute of Applied Sciences, is one of Universities in Rwanda located in Northern Rwanda. However, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans need an insight of what makes INES-Ruhengeri outstanding and valid cornerstone in the Education sector of the East African landlocked country and region in general.

“(…) INES is selling through its option to becoming a University of Applied Sciences which means a practical university in the teaching and learning, research and community engagement,” observed The Co-founder of INES and current Vice Chancellor of the university, Fr Dr. Hagenimana Fabien during an exclusive interview with The Light Magazine December7, 2021.  

Fr. Dr. Hagenimana (PHOTO/Eric Nzabirinda)

“We want to be a University that addresses the developmental needs of the society that is why we chose to become a University of Applied Science in 2010,” added Fr. Dr. Hagenimana.

PROGRAMMES MAKING INES-RUHENGERI OUTSTANDING

INES-RUHENGERI is a smart campus where all services are internationalized through the application of technology. Besides e-learning and academic services, technology is applied in administrative services and support services. The University is reaping all the benefits of technology such as increase in efficiency, transparency, credibility, internationalization of students and personnel and accessibility alongside reducing the use of paper and eliminating incompetent personnel. Technology enables them to internationalise all the programmes the University offers (see list of programmes below). 

Lecturers undergo induction and refresher training – a special orientation that helps them to master the mission of a University of Applied Sciences and its values. “We help the lecturers to fit into the concept of the University of Applied Sciences and the values of the University so that we may keep our identity high,” remarked Fr. Dr.  Hagenimana.

INES-RUHENGERI is highly supportive to the students. Besides free internet, the University supports learners through tuition subsidies where students pay 65% of the real cost and 35% by the University.

The existence of Career Guidance and Counselling at the University helps students understand particularly how the knowledge and skills they get can be applied in addressing the problems of society, serve communities better along helping them to unite.

Notably, the University boasts of several extra-curricular activities that basically promote students’ talents and life-long skills. These include: INES Business Innovation and Incubation centre (INNOVIC) and Africa-Germany Entrepreneurship Academy (AGEA) which instils entrepreneurship skills in students. Characteristic of the University are the Prototype competitions where winners access funds and summer schools among international partners. Other activities  Annual Career Day, Miss bright, Industrial attachment at different levels of studies, Field visits, Language centre, sport, INES Music band, and a Cultural troupe codenamed Igisubizo.

University clubs variously serve communities in the surroundings. The students ‘clubs complement the University efforts towards uplifting the welfare of vulnerable families by paying health insurance and the impact of the 8 Euros given to poor women per week under the 100-week project.

HAVEN OF RESEARCH-BASED QUALITY EDUCATION

The best students receive awards during the March 2021 graduation ceremony (PHOTO/Courtesy)

INES-RUHENGERI is a haven of Research-based quality for all and leader in the homegrown education approach for Africa which distinguishes it from other universities in Rwanda and worldwide. Teaching and learning is done by highly qualified staff in an enabling environment with modern and valid facilities. The University boasts of heavy investment in infrastructural, human resources and human capabilities development.

No wonder, the Government of Rwanda allowed it to go blended during the COVID-19 pandemic and the smart campus enabled them not only to cope with the pandemic but also tap into the digital generation and thus managed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on education.

RESEARCH CLUSTERS

In line with the potato seeds multiplication project supported by USAID, INES-RUHENGERI is now engaged in a project aimed at supplementing the potato seeds production capacity of RAB. By increasing the availability of Vitroplants (produced in tissue culture laboratory) and mini tubers (produced in screen houses) on market for improving the Irish potato productivity.

Target Groups are Farmers, Cooperatives, Companies in the volcanic   regions – Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu and Gicumbi districts) and other districts in Southern Province such as Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe. “We are happy to see the good progress of this project and impact to the farmers,” noted Fr. Dr. Hagenimana.

They do research on land administration and management through surveys. INES is providing research findings to enable the registration of marshlands so that each part of the area covered by swamps appears in the registrar.

Research on water resources, quantity and effect on the soils such as erosion is done, and scholars through research find out ways of mitigating the disastrous effects of water such as erosion and landslides.

Lake Kivu. The INES scholars have invested a lot in the research on L. Kivu where methane gas is extracted. They watch regularly the seismic activities and position on the lake to detect any signs of eruption of methane gas to alert the populations around and authorities. And, have installed equipment along the lake and on islands.   

Relatedly, they carry out on L. Kivu, river confluences that pour water into the lake and can affect biodiversity.

Studies on medicinal plants and how residuals of pesticides applied on crops, can negatively impact on humans. 

They, also, research on made-in-Rwanda commodities and their market.

In summary, the University boasts of well-equipped laboratories in Africa helpful in carrying out didactic, research and community services, and are accessible to learners all the time either as individuals or groups. The laboratories promote scholarly activities including potato seeds cleaning and multiplication, land surveying and crop surveying, food and beverages analysis, testing building materials, water analysis and soil analysis. 

The University’s role in the country’s development through research is tangible as it continues to provide solutions to problems in settlement,, housing and roads network Land use, management and governance, water and soil resources Engineering and Management. Other areas of research are: Applied Biotechnology in value chain development and management; Health, Sanitation development and management; Economic Development and Management as well as Crosscutting clusters (IT, Statistics, Education and Fundamental Rights).

INES-RUHENGERI Coping with COVID-19

“We didn’t close completely because we went online (…), we were prepared with the smart Campus,” said Fr. Hagenimana.

It is one of a few educational institutions that were permitted to go blended during the COVID-19 pandemic. They supported students, especially foreign students who could not go home. But, in general, the University supports students through different partnerships such as USAID-RWANDA, RAB, Inter-University Council for East Africa, the East African Land Administration Network, FIG and part the African Association of Remote Sensing and Environment (AARSE) and others.

INES got a COVID-19 recovery fund which reduced a loan it had secured earlier from the Central Bank of Rwanda (BNR) before receiving the second fund that will help them fix many financial hiccups.

INES Vice Chancellor says that the research on COVID-19 will help policy-makers make informed decisions.  

FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES
AT INES-RUHENGERI

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are currently flagship disciplines effective November 29th, 2021when the STEM Power Model Centre (STEM) is regarded as critical in achieving internalization of the educational programmes an aspiration INES-RUHENGERI is vigilantly and passionately is pursuing, and will ensure efficient utilization of the Laboratories thus boosting the digitalization revolution and innovation in ICT. 

Other programmes include; Applied Economics [international economics, financial economics and rural development economics] and Computer Sciences [Software Engineering, Networking Engineering and IT].

FUTURE PLANS

The University is considering introducing more Master’s programmes in different STEM areas. Currently, Postgraduate programmes include; Master of Science in Taxation, Master of Arts in Microfinance, Master of Arts in Entrepreneurship and SME’s Management and Master of Arts in Cooperatives Management.

Also, it plans to direct more efforts in the COVID-19 research. 

ENROLMENT

Enrolment has steadily been growing and it currently stands at 3,246 of them 1,540 female, 1,706 male. The total includes foreign students whose enrolment stands at 151 from Burundi, Congo, D.R . Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tchad and Uganda. More than 8,000 have graduated from INES- RUHENGERI.

HISTORIC BACKGROUND

Since the establishment of INES Ruhengeri on November 17th, 2003 massive efforts have been directed towards the re-birth of the nation through offering education that promotes healing, reconciliation and unity – a fact that makes this institution more relevant to particularly the Rwandan people who are emerging from a troubled history.

Pioneer students in the academic year 2003/2004 were 255 of them 126 female and 129 male.  The University at the time offered only four (4)programmes.

The mission of INES:  “Contribute through the interactive conjunction between civil society, private sector and public sector to the national and regional development, by providing specialized university education enhanced by research, in order to create competitive enterprises and well-paid employment.”

While the vision: “Universality in each individual; Knowledge in order to unite and better serve the world.”

INES TEACHING STAFF

Hiberte Migabo, Tutorial Assistant and Lab Analyst in an interactive session with students in Hematology, Immunohematology and Parasitology Lab (PHOTO/Eric Nzabirinda)

This reporter caught up with two scientists that lecture at INES-RUHENGERI. Dr. Mucumbitsi Joseph, a lecturer of Haematology and Immunohematology in the Parasitology Lab and HiberteMigabo the Tutorial Assistant and Lab Analyst said the availability of well-equipped laboratories and enabling teaching-learning environments have helped them to impart skills in students. They revealed that communities heap praises on the alumni for their excellent performance in the job market. 

Degrees Awarded BY INES – RUHENGERI

Undergraduate courses

Bachelor of Science with honours in Civil Engineering

Bachelor of Science with honours in Water Engineering

Bachelor of Science with honours in Software Engineering

Bachelor of Science with honours in Networking Engineering

Bachelor of Science with honours in Industrial Information Technology

Bachelor of Science with honours in Plant Biotechnology

Bachelor of Science with honours in Food Biotechnology

Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences

Bachelor of Science with honours in Land administration and Management

Bachelor of Science with honours in Land Survey

Bachelor of Science with honours in Statistics Applied to Economy

Bachelor of Science with honours in Architecture

Bachelor of Arts with honours in Entrepreneurship Development and Management;

Bachelor of Arts with honours in Accounting;

Bachelor of Arts with honours in Financial Economics 

Bachelor of Arts with honours in International Economics

Bachelor of Arts with honours in Rural Development Economics

Bachelor of Arts with honours in Public Administration and Good Governance

Bachelor of Education with honours in French and English;

Bachelor of law (LLB)

Advanced Diploma in Land Survey

Post-graduate programs

Master of Arts in Micro-finance

Master of Science in Taxation

Master of Arts in Entrepreneurship and SME’s Management 

Master of Arts in Cooperative Management

Short courses

INES Ruhengeri offers different short courses and the following are just a few of them. Many more courses are tailored to the needs of the clients based on the specialities that are available.

Computer Systems Technology;

Computer Applications;

Masonry

Welding;

Domestic Electricity;

Domestic Plumbing;

Surveying

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