Rwanda prioritises STEM subjects. What is the future of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences?

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Rwanda prioritises STEM subjects. What is the future of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences?

Yanditswe Jan, 27 2020 10:45 AM
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The government of Rwanda believes that STEM subjects will drive the country’s socio-economic transformation; hence the decision to give them priority of 90% admission into universities. Does that mean the non-STEM subjects are not equally important?

Rwanda formulated a policy framework to become a middle-income country by 2020 through the Vision 2020.

The framework entailed developing and spearheading a strong base of science, technology, and innovation. In the academic year 2018/2019, Public Universities enrolled 16,029 students in the science field. 61% of these are government-sponsored.

In the era of big data and STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics, liberal arts degrees have been disguised as relatively not important. Some students think otherwise.

It is important to emphasize the pragmatic or practical value of studying the humanities disciplines

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says that the humanities have an essential role to play to help face the major challenges in the world today and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, Executive Director of Higher Education Council Rwanda says as much as government efforts are on mainly science subjects, they are not phasing out the arts and that they are still very much important and they do co-exist.

Over the years, the perceived importance attached to STEM subjects has downplayed the contribution non-STEM subjects have.

Speaking to Dr Philip Cotton, the vice-chancellor at University of Rwanda, the plan that universities have is to find more integrated ways of finding a balance between both the stem and non-STEM subjects starting with the next academic year.

Experts argue that through the study of non-STEM subjects, critical thinking, and nuanced analysis, humanities contribute to the development of  inclusive societies

As the government strives to increase STEM admissions in higher institutions of learning to 90%, some argue that there should be a significant balance.

Gloria Mutesi reports...




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