The Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s tertiary institution for women, recently launched its Evening & Weekend Program for working professionals. Applications for the July 2017 programs intake are open now. The program is designed for working women, mothers and others with daytime commitments.
Akilah first opened its doors in 2010 and has since graduated over 200 students with diplomas in Hospitality Management, Information Systems, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship.
Akilah’s two-year program emphasizes leadership, public speaking, community service, and professional development. The institute is known among employers for turning out career-ready graduates. To date, 88% of graduates have secured jobs within six months of graduation.
Aline Kabanda, Akilah’s Country Director, sees the Evening & Weekend Program as a logical extension of Akilah’s commitment to preparing Rwandan women for professional careers.
“We have many promising young women who simply don’t have time to pursue a traditional daytime diploma program — they are either working professionals, mothers, or both,” she says.
“Our new Akilah Evening and Weekend Program will make it possible for young women to pursue their education and build their careers without sacrificing their work and family responsibilities,” explains Kabanda. “The program will equip students with the skills necessary to advance their careers or find new, exciting career opportunities."
The Evening and Weekend Program will initially offer two diplomas: a Diploma in Hospitality Management and a Diploma in Information Systems. Akilah will continue to offer its Diploma in Business Management & Entrepreneurship to daytime students.
The two-year Evening and Weekend Program will run from 6-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m on Saturdays. The later hours will allow students to work during the day and attend class at night.
All incoming students are required to attend the Akilah Bridge Program, an intensive course in English, computer, and writing skills that prepares students for success in the classroom. The Bridge Program follows the same weekday schedule as the regular courses but runs from 3-9:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Preparing Women for ICT Careers
The Diploma in Information Systems is Akilah’s newest offering. The institute decided to make it available to more students through its Evening and Weekend Program due to the high demand for trained IT professionals in Rwanda.
Faustin Soroncho, Akilah’s Information Systems Program Manager, says it’s important to prepare women for careers in ICT. “That’s where everything is headed in all sectors, whether it’s business, education, or health. To create equal opportunities, we need to involve women in the big things coming up. Being fluent in ICT means you get ahead at the workplace, you get to play key roles in your career,” he explains.
He emphasizes that there’s a particular need for women in the field. “Often they will be the ones who come up with innovations specifically benefiting women and girls. They understand that need much better than men ever will,” he says.
Akilah’s Information Systems curriculum is developed in partnership with private sector employers so that students graduate with in-demand skills. The campus has four computer labs, with a combined 140 computers, and a networking lab for students to practice hands-on hardware and networking skills.
“Akilah’s IS program is unique among ICT offerings in Rwanda because we put a lot of emphasis on practical training. Our students know how to create mobile apps and websites, create databases, repair computers, and configure computer networks when they leave,” Soroncho explains. “Our students have secured internships with Axiom Networks, ISPA, Imaginet, and Go Ltd. When they graduate, they find jobs with Rwanda’s top employers, such as Radisson Blu.”
A Curriculum That Emphasizes Mastery
This year Akilah will also roll out a new competency-based education curriculum for both its Daytime Program and Evening and Weekend Program. Competency-based education “brings students to the center of learning,” explains Rick Daniels, Akilah’s Chief Academic Officer.
“CBE introduces concepts that challenge students by doing rather than observing. With Akilah’s infusion of industry skills and regionally specific content, our students will graduate with the readiness they need not only to obtain a job but also to thrive in a career,” Daniels says.
The Rwandan Government has made CBE a national strategy. Proponents of CBE say that it is particularly effective for preparing graduates for the workforce because it focuses on what students know and can do, rather than theoretical knowledge.
“CBE is the global future of education. Akilah will join other leading institutions in this international academic shift,” Daniels says.
Applications Open Now for July 2017 Intake
Akilah is currently accepting applications for both its Daytime Program and Evening & Weekend Program. Students can apply at www.akilahinstitute.org/apply.Those interested can learn more at www.akilahinstitute.org or by following Akilah on Facebook. Akilah’s admissions team may also be reached at 0788384060. Applications close on May 8.