University of Rwanda to launch aeronautics and aerospace program next academic year – KT PRESS


One of the key buildings of the College of Sciences and Technologies of UR – Kigali which will host aeronautics and aerospace students

The University of Rwanda (UR) said it has finalized the drafting of curricula and education systems that will begin the admission and education of aviation and aerospace professionals, as part of the College of Science and Technology.

UR announced that the undergraduate level for aeronautics and aerospace courses could start the next academic year – 2021/22 after the approval of the program and study guides by the relevant authorities, the Council of the higher education (HEC).

“We already have other training courses in mechanical engineering, especially in plant, production and energy engineering, but over the years we have also decided to specialize by creating new courses according to the evolution of the labor market. Rwanda has the vision to strengthen the aviation sector locally and regionally. It is therefore important to prepare aviation and aerospace professionals for the upcoming duo courses, ”Ignace Gatare, director of the UR College of Science and Technology, told KT Press today.

“As a university, the goal is to create solutions for the country that aim to strengthen the aviation sector by graduating professionals. The field of aerospace, airspace and aeronautical engineering is broader. But some of them are air traffic regulation, flight management, etc. Gatare added.

He pointed out that in order to start teaching aerospace and aviation courses, the UR team had to find experienced partners in the aviation industry to collaborate in the design of curricula and training. standard study guides.

“These experts help us finalize the program without taking too much time, we have partnered with Kent State University which has an immersive experience in aerospace and aeronautics to find foundational teachings and conduct research of interest to the Rwanda and the region, ”he said. Noted.

In 2018, the UR and the University of Kent located in the United States of America signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the aerospace and aviation courses in Rwanda, but the plan was reportedly hampered by the pandemic of Covid-19.

The MoU that is now working includes teacher training, staff exchange, and students traveling to the United States for hands-on training and working on joint projects and vice versa.

The agreement will also include other education sectors like peace and conflict management, internet and communication systems, artificial intelligence and military academy, etc.

“So far we have the project ready, but it will be discussed in more detail by the partners, Kent State University, Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) and other local experts, our goal is to see the 2021/22 academic year accepted by the relevant authorities, it will be a basis for the admission of freshmen, ”said Gatare.

According to Gatare, aeronautics and aerospace courses will start with some necessities available in mechanical engineering, but laboratories will also be established in the next 3 years.

“We cannot wait for everything to be available, we will start with the necessities available and build slowly, this will be important for the economy of the country,” he added.

Tuition fees to be discussed

Tuition fees will also be discussed, but after HEC approves aeronautics and aerospace courses, the official stressed that the most important thing is to retain graduates in the country.

“At the moment, we haven’t prepared a tuition fee plan, but studying these courses abroad is of course more expensive than taking them locally. The other advantage is to retain these graduates and to have the skills, if necessary, they could go to study abroad and stay there to work, ”said Gatare.

According to reports, the average tuition fees for aviation and aerospace courses range between $ 56,000 and $ 27,300 per year in the United States of America. For Russia which is considered the best country in aeronautics and aerospace courses; Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University costs $ 2,100 per year, Astrakhan State Technical University costs about $ 2,400.

At other Russian universities, for example, the Moscow Aviation Institute, students pay $ 4,500, while at St. Petersburg State Civil Aviation University the cost is of $ 4,000 per year.

“Capacity building is what every country does, teachers and students will be allowed to go abroad for training and internships, but it’s important to bring them back. In the agreement with Kent State University, we will send students for internships and student exchanges in various projects, ”Gatare noted.

He pointed out that lecturers from Kent State University will come to Rwanda and local lecturers will go to the United States as well as students who will visit laboratories in the United States.

In May 2020, a The cabinet meeting approved a bill establishing the Rwandan Space Agency (RSA), marking a further step towards promoting progress in the aviation sector.

By creating the RSA, Rwanda joined some African countries with space agencies, notably Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

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