31 October 2012

Rwanda: Medical Students Get Ipads for Research

Huye — The US-based Tulane University on Tuesday donated 97 iPad tablet computers to medical students of the National University of Rwanda (NUR).

The iPads, which cost over $37 000 (over Rwf 22 million), were donated under the Tablets for Medical Education (T4ME) programme which seeks to improve the use of technology among medical students and practitioners. The computers were handed over by the Rwanda Office of Tulane.

The gadgets are expected to enhance education and information sharing between the medical students and lecturers.

According to Prof Patrick Kyamanywa, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine, the gadgets are a boon to future medical practitioners.

He told The New Times that the iPads will take students outside the classroom setting to search for information not provided in class.

"What we are targeting is to ensure that students are able to read beyond what the lecturer gives them, especially because medical knowledge broadens every day," Kyamanywa said.

"It is like you give them [students] the skeleton and they build the muscles and the body around that because there is a lot [to learn outside what the lecturer gives]," Kyamanywa explained.

Kyamanywa noted that through this, students are likely to improve their knowledge and performance.

"We expect students to be able to answer and discuss more problems in the field of medicine," he said, emphasising that the tablets have been loaded with books and other resources, including applications, which relate to their field of study.

Dr Nancy Beth Mock, the Country Director of Tulane University-Rwanda office, noted that in this era, the use of iPads and other modern technologies is becoming crucial.

"If I look back to years when laptops were the thing, it made a big impact [in education].

I expect there will be even more for the tablets because they are accessible to students

anywhere they are: whether sitting, in a bus or while jogging", she said.

She said the gadgets are more accessible and user friendly, adding that the mobility and easy use would make them powerful tools than laptops.

"Because of the technological infrastructure that the country has laid, it becomes possible to push technology to its limit to develop needed human resources. I believe, for that work, Rwanda is going to be a development case study for other countries to learn from", Dr. Mock added.

A beneficiary from the medical school, Sylvie Inyange Musoni, observed that by simplifying information sharing and knowledge exchange, available technologies were shaping the education sector for the society's benefit.

"Access to resources is something important. With today's technologies, you have the ability to easily read yourself and increase knowledge which in turn you use while serving the society", Inyange said.

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