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Rwanda: First Batch of IT Students Graduate From Rwanda's Carnegie Mellon University
Source: CIO East Africa
Source Date: Friday, July 25, 2014
Focus: Information Access, E-Participation
Country: Rwanda
Created: Jul 28, 2014

The Carnegie Mellon University has announced the graduation of its first class, not just in Rwanda, but in Africa at large. Each of the 22 students was awarded with a master's degree in information Technology (IT).

"Our graduating class is filled with remarkable young men and women who are ready to enter industry and become entrepreneurs. We are excited about their potential to make significant contributions to IT in East Africa and the world," said James H. Garrett Jr, dean of Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering.

In 2005, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was nominated as a leading facilitator for several action lines at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis. Part of its mandate was to generate the momentum so as to 'connect the unconnected' of the world's people by the year 2015. Within this context, new projects were encouraged so as to bridge the digital divide giving birth to the establishment of five Centres of Excellence that would serve to cultivate the science and technological skills, required for the development of an IT workforce and expertise within the African continent.

Carnegie Mellon University became the first American university to offer a master's degree programme in Africa with full-time faculty.

Taking advantage of this initiative was the Government of Rwanda (GoR), which strategically targeted Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to establish and operate a master's degree-granting program in the country.

"Being present in East Africa is the only way to understand the region's technology needs," says Bruce Krogh, the inaugural director of CMU in East Africa. "Creating a long-term education programme is critical, because it gives students time to analyze problems and develop solutions in the context in which they occur."

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a global research university with more than 12,000 students, 95,000 alumni, and 5,000 faculty and staff. CMU has been a birthplace of innovation since its founding in 1900.

"It is important that students stay in East Africa instead of studying in the States or elsewhere. If Africa's best students leave to study abroad for two years, that becomes problematic. At CMU, students remain plugged into the region's rapidly evolving technical and business networks," says Krogh.

This graduation of the first ever Africa-based class from Carnegie Mellon University further cements the Government of Rwanda's commitment to educating engineers and entrepreneurs through the training of their county's youth, within the technological context.

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