In demonstration of the commitment of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the government of Rwanda to educate engineers and entrepreneurs in East Africa, the university recently graduated its first set of students in Rwanda.
Many of the students including the 22 that were awarded Masters Degrees in Information Technology (IT) have ambitions to be the next technical innovators and business leaders responsible for ushering the region’s economic and social growth into the future.
In 2007, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, recommended the establishment of Centres of Excellence throughout Africa to cultivate skills in science and technology required for developing an IT workforce and expertise in Africa.
Motivated to elevate global intellectual and economic vitality, Carnegie Mellon University became the first US University to offer a masters degree programme taught by full-time faculty resident in Africa.
“Being present in East Africa is the only way to understand the region’s technology needs. 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,” said Bruce Krogh, the inaugural director of CMU in East Africa.
Carnegie Mellon students in Rwanda are given world-class education enriched by the institution’s history and tradition of excellence that began in the United States in 1900. Rigorous coursework, practical and internships provide students with the critical skills valued by industry throughout East Africa.
To ensure that Carnegie Mellon University’s research and curriculum in Rwanda remain relevant to Africa, the faculty and students engage with local companies and multinational corporations on a continual basis.
Companies like General Electric, IBM, Marriott, Microsoft, VISA and Voxiva recruit Carnegie Mellon University students for internships in East Africa.
According to Krogh, “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.”
James H. Garrett Jr., dean of Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering has this to say about the students; “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.”
In Africa, Carnegie Mellon University offers two graduate degree programmes: its founding programme, the M.S. in Information Technology, and the M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering launching in August, 2014. The programme currently has 43 students and eight faculty members. Research areas include energy systems and IT for healthcare and business.