Rwanda : Kagame launches Q&A session for university students
President Kagame meets with Rwandan students in China-Beijing, September 15, 2012 (Photo: PPU)
For the first time ever, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is scheduled to communicate directly with the country’s university students in a ‘MeetThePresident’ session this Friday October 19, 2012.
At least 2500 students from private and public universities will converge in Kigali this Friday where they will have an opportunity to meet the President. During the session, President Kagame will answer already submitted questions as well as share his input on comments raised by the students.
The ‘MeetThePresident’ session was announced on Wednesday on President Kagame’s Facebook page and Twitter handle.
It is going to be the first time this format is used when President Kagame communicates with his people. The President, though occasional, has been making visits to universities around the country. However, such trips are usually organized concurrently with meetings involving the local population and officials.
This time the Head of State is meeting exclusively students. All university students in Rwanda and outside are covered. The students have been asked to post their questions before Thursday 18th October 5pm (15h GMT).
The questions will be answered by President Kagame on Friday morning in a live session to be aired on state TV and radio. For those outside Rwanda, both broadcasters currently stream live online at http://www.orinfor.gov.rw/tvr.php (for TV) and http://www.orinfor.gov.rw/radio/listenradio.php (for Radio)
“Make sure your question is in line with this theme: “Building a Legacy of Self Reliance”….” said the President on the Facebook posting announcing the session.
This session will be similar to the Town Hall format used in the United States where politicians mingle freely with their audience. US President Barak Obama held a similar session back in July 2011, in which the general public submitted questions before-hand via Twitter.
Within a few hours of the announcement of President Kagame’s student encounter, the excitement was visible from a review of the questions and comments. Up to 70 posts were already on the Facebook page. Issues raised concern the national economy, education, politics, and social welfare of Rwandans.
Emmanuel Ndacyayisenga wrote: “Hello Mr. President; my question concerns the quality of education, here in Rwanda there are many new private universities…do they have a competitive education quality with other universities?”
Not only university students have submitted challenging questions, there even some from high school. One wrote: “I have an idea about how we can build many estates in rural areas and towns but I don’t have a place in government and I am still in high school so I don’t know how I can present my idea to you. So I need your help thank you H.E president”.
Over the years, internet usage in Rwanda has grown significantly. In its flagship report released early October, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ranked Rwanda among six developing countries globally that are the most dynamic performers in ICT development.
The “Measuring the Information Society 2012” report said Rwanda jumped seven places to 133rd position in 2012 compared to 140th in 2011. Rwanda was ranked alongside Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.
Internet access at some of Rwanda’s premier universities is campus-wide and free. At the National University of Rwanda, for example, located in South of the country, there is free Wi-Fi on the whole campus allowing students to surf the internet from anywhere.