Mount Kenya University Kigali Campus is set to be granted a charter by the Rwandan government to operate as a full-fledged national private institution.
The move, which will make the university autonomous, is a blessing to students who have in the past been forced to travel all the way to Thika town, Kenya, for their graduation.
"Reference is made to the assessment that was conducted by a team constituted by the Higher Education Council (HEC) to assess the readiness of MKU, Kigali, to change its status to the proposed Mount Kenya International University of Technology … I am therefore pleased to recommend the approval of the change of status," Dr. Emmanuel Muvunyi, HEC executive director, said.
The founder of the university, Prof. Simon Gicharu, said the move had been necessitated by the need to overcome cross-border challenges in running the institution.
"With the growing number of students, now at 600, we thought it would be wise to make MKU Rwanda autonomous to serve them better. And the government of President Paul Kagame continues to be very supportive. We thank him for this" he said.
Dr. Muvunyi further asked MKU Rwanda Vice Chancellor Prof. Edwin Odhuno to make necessary adjustments to fast-track the transition to its new status.
"MKU Kigali, is requested to submit to the HEC a plan indicating how these recommendations will be implemented."
Director-general of the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority Patrick Nyirishema announced the news of the approval at a ceremony to launch Royal FM, an English broadcasting radio station in Kigali, at the MKU grounds.
The event was attended by powerful government officials and the Kenyan High Commissioner John Mwangemi.
"Today and before coming here, a decision was taken granting MKU a national private university status in Rwanda," Mr Nyirishema, a former high ranking official in the Rwanda Defence Forces, pronounced. He was the chief guest at the launch of the station.
He also praised the opening of Royal FM, saying it would help address unemployment among the youth.
Royal FM, a commercial station, is operated by the MKU's school of communication and mass media.
To expand its audience base, MKU chairman and Founder announced plans to set up five English language training centres in Rwanda.
There are about 20 other private universities in Rwanda. Initially operating three other campuses, the university management consolidated them into one ultra-modern facility in the upmarket Kigali to offer postgraduate, bachelor's degrees, diploma and certificate courses.