Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

6 March 2014

Rwanda: Microsoft to Reduce Cost of Software for Rwandan Education

On Thursday in Kigali, the Ministry of Education and Microsoft signed an agreement to reduce the price of Microsoft software programs for the benefit of education. The agreement seeks to ease the availability of Microsoft program licenses to allow brand updates for new programs at low costs.

With this partnership, the Ministry will be allowed to use Microsoft programs at low prices on 3,000 computers. Minister of Education Dr. Vincent Biruta indicated that the partnership will improve the quality of education through the advancement of science and technology, mainly in primary and secondary schools.

"ICT is one of the solutions in quality of education... Use of technology is at the center of approaches to improve quality of education," he said, adding that use of technology in schools is aligned with Rwanda's Vision 2020.

Eric Odipo, the country manager of Microsoft in East and Southern Africa, noted that Microsoft has committed itself to partnerships with African governments to boost their economies.

Odipopointed out that many African countries do not have a legacy in technology and focus on education to empower people for employability. "All people need to be ready for employability and entrepreneurship," he stressed.As such, the partnership with Rwanda will focus mainly on supporting teachers and empowering schools and universities.

He also noted that through this partnership, students with their own computerswillbe able to purchase software at a low price.

While computer equipment is still lacking in schools across the country, Minister Biruta pointed out that the Ministry is planning to help teachers own their own laptops.

The Director of ICT at the ministry of Education,TheogeneKayumba,promised that schools of excellence will be built in every district to serve as role models and allow accessibility for many other schools.

Some programs that will be brought by Microsoft to empower learners and educators are Office 365, Image Cup, DreamSpark,Kodu, and DigiGirlz to encourage careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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