Kepler Kigali opened in 2013 to provide higher education to thousands of Rwandan students who otherwise couldn’t afford it, but also to be a learning laboratory for best practices in blended learning. This approach was extended to refugees in 2015 with the opening of a branch campus in Kiziba camp in eastern Rwanda, which houses around 17,000 people who have fled the fighting in DR Congo in the past two decades.

The aim is to provide high quality education, enabling it to be replicable in many countries where access is low.

Kepler Kiziba offers US-accredited bachelor degree programmes to 25 students a year to enable them to pursue employment opportunities.

Working in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, in the US, it has a three-tiered set of courses, including English writing and comprehension, mastering computer programmes and learning management skills. The work is assessed by US evaluators. Students first complete an associate degree in general studies with a business focus, then a bachelor’s degree in business communications or healthcare management.

The programmes combine online learning with in-person tuition. Students, who are given a laptop, courtesy of the IKEA Foundation, attend four hours of class every afternoon in rooms used in the morning for the camp’s primary and secondary schools. Some of the students work as teachers in the school.

Students take a six-month preparatory course before starting on the SNHU associate degree curriculum, a competency-based programme that includes challenges such as designing a budget. Kepler finds internships for the students in NGOs in the camp and nearby businesses.

  • For information on more connected learning programmes and tertiary education programmes for refugees, please consult the recent landscape review, conducted by jigsaw consult p. 59 following: