On March 13, 2023 three lecturers from Christelijke Hogeschool Ede (CHE University)-Netherlands started their annual face-to-face program of delivering communication courses to students from Institut Catholique de Kabgayi (ICK), Department of Public Relations.
The department belongs to the Faculty of Journalism and Communication studies.
This in-person teaching comes after a week of distance learning from March 7 to 10 from ICK’s video conference room.
The program, which has been running on annual basis for the last four years, started with face-to-face instruction in the first two years before becoming a hybrid format that combines online instruction with in-person teaching for the last two years.
The visiting lecturers include Jeroen van der Zeeuw, Erik Geluk and Cateleijn Schenk and they are delivering Professional Public Relations, Diplomacy and Negotiations and Branding and Brand management.
“I feel privileged to be here in Rwanda and teach here because it’s nice to experience another culture, to see how students learn, the knowledge they want to share with us and the knowledge we want to share with them. So, we can also learn ourselves from this experience,” Schenk said.
She appreciated the difference between ICK students and CHE university students in terms of class participation.
“The students here are more eager to know by asking questions; maybe more eager than the Dutch sometimes. They really want to absorb all the information you are giving, which makes it nice to teach,” she said.
In the same line, Jeroen van der Zeeuw suggests: “When there is something which is unclear to them, they ask for more clarification; sometimes in the Netherlands, when students don’t understand, they don’t ask.”
According to the Vice-Chancellor of ICK Fr. Balthazar Ntivuguruzwa, the partnership between ICK and CHE university has brought visibility to the former.
“Lecturers from CHE university help our students to increase their knowledge, to broaden their ideas beyond the limits of the country’s borders,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
Public relations students say that they are happy for having these lecturers, and testify that they expect to derive substantial benefits from the course.
“I expect a lot of benefits, like learning new concepts, connecting with our lecturers and learning the core strategies of negotiation and diplomacy and then branding and marketing,” Duncan Mahangi, one of the students said.
Eugenie Mutarutwa said that she had been in the online classes for four-days and was anticipating the week of face-to-face classes.
This program is part of partnership agreement between CHE University and ICK, facilitated by the European Union in its Erasmus+ program.