15 June 2010

Rwanda: Gov't to Begin Countrywide Distribution of Laptops in Schools

Kigali — The Ministry of Education (MoE) will soon begin distributing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computers beginning with five schools in every district.

OLPC programme was put in place to ensure that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is accessed by Rwandan children right from primary school and that every school going child gets a laptop.

So far, about 8000 laptops have been distributed in the pilot phase to less than fifteen primary schools in the country, both public and private.

According to the OLPC coordinator, Nkubito Bakuramutsa, they have now embarked on the phase of distributing the laptops country wide.

"We met some challenges where some schools did not have access to electricity which somehow reduced the pace at which the programme was supposed to move but now, we are going to distribute about 60,000 laptops in 150 schools around the country," said Bakuramutsa yesterday.

He added that the five schools in each district were selected considering factors like availability of electricity in those schools.

The Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS)'s target is to at least distribute laptops to half the population of the school going children which is projected to be at 2.5 million by 2012.

Bakuramutsa said that the programme has set apart a budget to help the selected schools wire classrooms where the computers will be plugged. He says that most of the chosen schools are not wired.

The wiring will be done through the partnership of the schools and Technical Schools in the particular areas where the schools are located.

"The schools will be provided with the computers as soon as they communicate that they have all the requirements needed for them to have them," said Bakuramutsa urging heads of schools to start process as soon as possible.

The programme will also, towards the end of June start training teachers who will be in charge of the laptops in these schools. According to OLPC programme, 235 teachers have already been trained.

Rwanda is the global learning centre of OLPC and was chosen due to its commitment to becoming an ICT hub on the continent.

The centre in Kigali is supposed to train national, regional and international specialists in order to expand the laptop learning programme in their respective countries.

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