UR takes a bold step towards solving the degree issue for 2019 graduates


University of Rwanda’s ambition has always been to have degree certificates printed as close to the graduation ceremony as possible. However, having a final graduation list is often thwarted by graduands clearing financially just a few minutes prior the graduation ceremony. UR chooses to graduate all cleared students by the time of conferment.

November 2019 Graduates pose for a group photo after graduation

In normal circumstances, once a graduates list is approved it can be sent to the printing company to start printing degree certificates. This year though is an important milestone because UR has embraced the good practice of printing degree certificates locally rather than in Europe as had previously been the experience. However, ensuring secure printing of degree certificates is still a challenge because it requires either to have the required technology and technical know-how to do it internally.

“The new move requires to have specialized papers with specific security features to ensure authenticity and personalization of certificates and academic transcripts” said Françoise Tengera, UR Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance.

UR has initiated a big project in collaboration with National Identification Agency (NIDA). While waiting to realize this project, UR is buying papers with security features from outside in order to print degree certificates locally. Thus, it is expected that the first batch of degree certificates will be availed to graduates at the end of January 2020. In the meantime, graduates are being facilitated and given academic testimonials and transcripts which have as much legitimacy as any other document including diplomas.

“For example, we have to help local employers to navigate their way around signed and certified transcripts and testimonials, and we are working with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour to affect this” added Tengera.

The other important progress is that from this year we will de-couple the date of award from the date of the graduation ceremony. This means that if one completes degree requirements in March 2020, there is no longer a need to wait for a degree certificate dated November 2020 (the month of the annual graduation ceremony) but will get a degree certificate conferred with the blessing of the Board and Chancellor once they clear financially and academically.
While the vast majority will complete their academic journey just before graduation and attend the ceremony, others will be facilitated to take up their careers. The degree certificate will state that ‘The Academic Senate of March 2020, ratified by the Board, awarded the Masters/Bachelors degree in …to NAME’. HEC will clearly be involved in this process that will enable graduates to move on and seek employment.