A new cohort of 160 students have been admitted to Kepler, a programme that offers students opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from U.S University while studying in Rwanda. Students will begin classes in June this year.
Kepler is based in Kigali and has a branch in Kiziba refugee camp in Western Province.
Kepler runs a blended learning approach throughout its programmes, through which graduating students receive a United-States-accredited university degree with Kepler’s credentialing partner Southern New Hampshire University.
The programme seeks to increase access to quality higher education, according to Carrie Ellett, Chief Operating Officer of Kepler.
“Part of our mission is to increase access to high quality education opportunities by providing programmes that help build the skills that make university applicants successful,” she said.
“We hope to provide more students with access to skills that can shape a bright future. Our partnership has allowed us to offer more prep programmes this year and we hope to continue this work on a broader scale next year,” she noted.
Eligibility requires students to have good English skills, interesting business and leadership potential, among others.
“We work with employment partners and we not only give them degrees but also ensure they are competitive enough to get employment.”
Kepler particularly targets vulnerable populations such as refugees – (less than 1% of them have access to higher education around the world), according to UNHCR.
Meanwhile, Carrie refuted reports that Kepler has plans to open a second branch in Mahama refugee camp.
Students, parents react
The 160 students were selected from 2500 applicants. Cheerful students and parents expressed gratitude towards the programme.
Julienne Uwase from Musanze said “It was my second time to apply at Kepler and I was very happy to learn that I have been admitted. I like Kepler because of the way their programme is organised, the focus on business courses and encouraging student’s creativity.
Yvette Zigama, a mother to one of the admitted students said, “I was so happy to learn that my daughter had been admitted to study at Kepler.
Kepler was initiated in 2013 by Generation Rwanda, an NGO. It currently has 400 enrolled students from Rwanda and neighbouring countries.
Communication with emphasis on business, healthcare and management are some of the programmes offered at Kepler.
It also offers prep programmes in Gihembe, Kiziba and Mahama refugee camps that equip students with critical thinking and English language skills that enhance applications to higher education programmes.