Rwanda: Online tool enables students to complement theoretical learning with practical experiences

Read how students in Rwanda can obtain useful skills through a new online platform. This is the 4th blog in our series showcasing the winners of the African Union ‘Innovating Education in Africa’ program.

August 31, 2021 by Yussouf Ntwali, BAG Innovation
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3 minutes read
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Adam Hakizimana
Credits: Adam Hakizimana

This is the 4th blog in our series showcasing the winners of the African Union ‘Innovating Education in Africa’ program. As part of the GPE Financing Campaign, we hear from young people on the financing and innovations needed to keep education at the center of the COVID recovery, to get more children learning and leave no child behind.

In Rwanda, most university students have no experience once they complete their studies and there are significant challenges for companies to find skilled workforce on the job market.

How is it possible that there are more than 40,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 postgraduate students in Rwanda, yet businesses still cannot find skilled labor for their organizations?

Even worse, how is it possible that university students spend more than three years in school then graduate to find difficulties navigating the job market to find employment?

Empowering students with experience

Our solution to youth unemployment in Africa was the creation of BAG, a virtual learning platform that offers experience-based learning and credentials.

Universities can use this platform in any university across Africa, as well as experience-based learning courses. Experience-based education and certifications enable university students to find out about the skills they will need in the real world.

It also assists employers in assessing skills needed and provide multiple assessments to test a candidate's ability to work with the company they are applying to.

Although employers can traditionally take on 2 to 3 interns a year, with the BAG solution, they can now transfer work experience to thousands of students simultaneously without any extra effort.

Matching graduates with businesses

BAG developed an online system three years ago that enables students to complement theoretical learning with practical experience: They sign up on the platform and complete cases that bridge theoretical learning with practical exercises offered by Rwandan-based businesses.

Through BAG, students have sharpened their soft skills, which are usually not considered during their time in university.

Thanks to the platform, several students have been employed by partner businesses.

On the platform, students select their sector of interest connected to their university major. They can choose a local company they are interested in. They work on short assessments provided by the employer, then receive a rating, professional feedback, and career advice from both the employer and BAG.

This is then saved on a talent profile that could potentially substitute for the traditional CV for graduates. Through experience-based credentials, the student will be given experience credit for their efforts.

Expanding throughout Africa

The Ministry of Education in Rwanda has been encouraging and supportive of this innovation and winning the AU Innovation Expo Prize has given BAG more visibility and recognition in the tech and innovation space. In the next 12 months we hope to gain thousands of new users and expand into other countries.

COVID-19 has impacted education in Rwanda, causing education to move digitally. This worked in BAG’S favor, which was already a digital platform.

We are currently working on ensuring that universities and employers can transfer learning experiences between universities and employers. It also allows experience-based learning to substitute for more traditional internships.

Traditionally, employers can only take on 2-3 interns per year. But with BAG, employers can provide the same learning opportunities to thousands.

BAG helps students who may struggle to get experience in conventional universities or workplaces, while connecting them with experience-based learning that will benefit them in the long run.

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Read the other blogs in this series:

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Rwanda

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