African Centre of Excellence in Data Science: An institution’s journey on making a mark in the regional STEM field | The New Times


The decision for the institution of the completely different African Centres of Excellence (ACEs) got here at a time when the Authorities of Rwanda noticed gaps within the science discipline.

The gaps had been apparently extra pronounced by way of certified personnel coping with massive knowledge. And as consequence, there was must ship high quality post-graduate schooling and construct collaborative analysis capability.

This was meant to be achieved in 5 regional precedence areas: Business, Agriculture, Well being, Schooling and Utilized Statistics.

Information Science is an interdisciplinary course that mixes experience in statistics, laptop science, and arithmetic amongst different fields in science.

Dr Charles Ruranga, the Director of African Centre of Excellence in Information Science, says the decision for the institution of the African Centres of Excellence was in effort to fill gaps in these completely different areas.

The actual program-African Centre of Excellence in Information Science (ACE-DS) is among the 24 Japanese and Southern Africa Greater Schooling Centres of Excellence.

Working at College of Rwanda (UR), its core mission is to coach post-graduate college students with mixed experience in statistics, economics, enterprise, laptop science, and engineering to make use of massive knowledge and knowledge analytics to unravel improvement challenges.

The genesis

The Japanese and Southern Africa Greater Schooling Centres of Excellence (ACE II) is a World Financial institution –funded Venture and is now operational with 24 ACEs from eight international locations.

Dr. Ruranga reveals that after drafting the proposal, an utility was consequently submitted placing into consideration the World Financial institution’s rations. This was in 2015.

 “After conditional choice a discipline go to was performed earlier than remaining choice. This Centre was established at College of Rwanda as an settlement between the World Financial institution and the Authorities of Rwanda on 17th October 2016,” Dr. Ruranga says.

Presently, the whole variety of 24 Centres have been established for ACE II in Japanese and Western Africa with Rwanda having four Centres of excellence that cope with Information science (ACE-DS), the Web of Issues (IoT), Vitality (ACEESD) and Instructing and studying Arithmetic and sciences (ACEITLMS).

Professionals from business throughout the short-course in Quantitative Monitoring and Analysis. 

The primary actions of the middle are postgraduate coaching (Masters and PhD), brief programs and conducting collaborative utilized analysis.

Standards for admission

With regard to enrolment, Dr. Ruranga says a name is often made the place these planning to enrol for the Grasp’s program are required to have at the least BSc honours with higher division.

“After receiving the functions, we rank them in accordance with their marks. And the very best candidates are chosen. There are additionally some who come from the workforce; these may be admitted based mostly on expertise. That is achieved with a purpose to construct capability for the present work-force,” he notes.

The primary in take for the grasp’s program have accomplished their first 12 months and now there may be the second consumption and the second consumption for PhD program as effectively.

College students are from completely different international locations reminiscent of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Zambia amongst others.

The Centre additionally gives brief programs for instance in machine studying, Information evaluation, monitoring and analysis amongst others.

Some programs provided for Masters and PhD embody knowledge science in knowledge mining, econometrics, biostatistics, actuarial science, demography- these are the 5 exit at MSc and PhD ranges.

“We name onto those that are working in these fields, we provide so much that they will study from; this will additionally add to their expertise.”


Throughout implementation, Ruranga reveals that ACEDS confronted challenges as a brand new program. “However we acquired help from the College of Rwanda, the Ministry of Schooling, IUCEA, World Financial institution and plenty of different companions. By way of common technical and advisory conferences (TAM) organized by EUCEA each six months- the place all of the 24 Centres meet and share experiences- we managed to drag by means of,” the Director says.

Progress with implementation

There are Professors/Lecturers from completely different international locations and associate establishments accessible to deal with particular modules; that is additionally for PhD supervision.

“We’ve supervisors from the College of Rwanda but in addition from different associate establishments.  We even have what we name “PhD Symposium” that’s organized two occasions a 12 months the place all PhD college students and their supervisors are invited for a gathering for a one-week analysis seminar. This occasion provides PhD college students alternative to current progress of their theses”, Dr. Ruranga narrates.

 “The Centre has laptop labs and we even convey consultants within the discipline for various tutorials. I can say that we have now the very best college students and we wish to see them shine on the job market”, he provides.

Dr. Ruranga observes that with such abilities, college students won’t solely be an ingredient to the market however may also reply to the difficult wants therefore filling the hole not simply in Rwanda but in addition in the entire of Africa.

College students on the centre have an opportunity for scholarships and entry to loans from Authorities of Rwanda by means of the Greater Schooling Council (HEC).

The Director says that these Centres are definitely contributing to the standard of schooling in Rwanda, noting that this might not have been potential with out the help of companions reminiscent of universities, industries, and the non-public sector amongst others.

“We’re additionally in search of a solution to maintain this after the World Financial institution help. And since it is a regional initiative, we want college students, employees and others who’re concerned, so we additionally must have worldwide our bodies in our colleges. That’s the present standing”, He concludes.

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