Students Urged to Break 'Kaminuza Syndrome'

Rwandan students need to discard the old-fashioned mindset of studying in order to get a while-collar job, and embrace a paradigm shift which increasingly places entrepreneurship at the heart of a prosperous future.

This is one of the key messages that dominated an event held in line with the Entrepreneurship Week at the Rwanda Tourism University in Kigali on Tuesday.

This, it was observed, would see a big number of youths easily break into the world of work, as joblessness, especially among the youth, is largely linked to attitudes that do not favour hands-on vocations and entrepreneurship.

The event featured a career open day under the theme: 'Rwanda Higher Learning institutions in creating the next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators.'

John Ngarama, the Business development Manager at the Business Development Fund (BDF), called on students to make the most of every opportunity to learn self-employment skills.

He urged them to break the yoke of what he called the 'Kaminuza syndrome', a sense of false entitlement among many varsity graduates - who believe that academic papers amounted to a license to a well-paying job.

"You can start saving little money now and eventually join hands to do great things together through business-oriented co-operatives," he told the students.

He added: "BDF is here to support you but you have to take the first small steps by yourselves, rather than sit back and wait for jobs."

Ngarama urged university students to also participate in business plan competitions, and partake in training courses that enhance their business-related skills.

"Your mindset should be entrepreneurial-oriented," he told them "We provide guarantee of up to 25 per cent (of capital) for other people but we go up to 75 per cent for youth and women. You should be able to exploit such opportunities."

Caleb Tumusime, the in charge of employment, policy and strategies at the Public Service Commission, noted that that there is tight competition for jobs out there.

To illustrate, he said that, out of the 158,648 job-seekers who sat job exams between 2012 and 2016, only 12,109 were eventually picked.

"That's the reality out there, which is why students need to embrace the fact that they need something extra to take to the labour market, you need to have skills to create your own job," he said.

Deborah Ingabire, the country director of AISEC, an international non- governmental organisation that provides leadership skills to young people, said students also need to discard the old mindset of seeking livelihood off agriculture.

"You should think big and start looking at establishing factories that will process locally-made products and help address the issue of unemployment," he said.