By Kalinda Brenda
Rwandan parents today may have to start saving for their child’s education welfare to match with the new government plan of phasing out use of notebooks in primary schools by 2019.
Government says that use of laptops will become a compulsory basic school material in all Rwandan primary schools in the next three years and the education ministry has set a 3-year deadline to roll out digital teaching with online interactions in 3500 primary schools of the country.
“It requires parents to change their mind set and start to save for their children’s laptops,” said education minister,Musafiri Papias Malimba.
The country faces a shortage of qualified teachers and learning space which have seen the teacher to pupil ratio increase to 1: 62 while the pupil to classroom ratio is at 80:1 nationally, according to statistics from the Ministry of education.
“If parents can save Rwf500 for every child per week, it would be affordable to all.” He said
The Minister met with representatives of Microsoft Corporation, an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington this November 28 to discuss feasibility of the project.
Frank McCosker, representative of Microsoft in Africa said Rwanda can make it, given its remarkable progress in technology and internet penetration in the country. He said some of the schools have already started to use Wi-fi, the “TV Wide Spaces’ which is faster.
However, he said the project will be achieved in partnership with every school and the government since it will require enough laptops and stable electricity across the country.
Noting the importance of the project, Musafili said it would augment the ratio of teacher-students while also improving quality of education.
“I do believe with technology, one mathematics teacher can teach the whole country at the same time,” he said.
Rwanda has important partners who will back up this project. South American technology firm Positivo BGH is manufacturing the first ever ‘Made in Rwanda’ laptops in Kigali. The factory has 60,000 units production capacity per month. The total cost of a laptop by Positivo is estimated to Rwf 200,000.
Microsoft will be hired to install modules that are adapted to the Curriculum provided by Ministry of Education.