Rwanda: Over 1,800 Science Teachers to Be Given Laptops in August

Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) is set to deploy over 1,800 laptops during this month of August to different teachers who teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in public schools.

The distribution of the laptops, under "One Laptop per Teacher" initiative, was launched earlier this year as one of the measures to improve quality education in the country.

Officials told The New Times that since February, at least one in eight teachers have received laptops with over 11,125 pieces distributed in all parts of the country so far.

At the end of the campaign, at least 89,000 teachers in public schools will have benefitted from the One Laptop Per Teacher programme.

Christine Niyizamwiyitira, the head of department of ICT in Education at REB said that currently, they are prioritising teachers who teaching science subjects.

"More laptops are expected to be distributed to other teachers in different programmes after," she said.

She said the target is to cover all the teachers by the end of 2024.

However, she said, the deadline might be slightly adjusted in case of insufficient budget and in case they fail to bring more partners on board to help equip all the teachers within the expected time.

She added that one laptop costs between Rwf300,000 and Rwf450,000 depending on the type, which implies that there is need of a budget between Rwf26.7 billion and Rwf40 billion to distribute laptops to all of the 89,000 teachers.

"We also look at programmes offered in schools and distribute laptops according to those programmes and the readiness of the schools," she said.

She said that equipping all teachers with laptops will boost ICT integration in education policy to improve teaching and learning experiences.

Beneficiaries speak out

Some teachers who have received the laptops shared their experience with The New Times saying that the laptops have significantly improved their work compared to the time when they didn't have them.

Aimable Munyamahoro, an English teacher at GS Nyamirama in Nyagatare District said that the laptop has helped him a lot in a way that he can now easily do research on the subject he teaches.

He said that all teaching materials are kept safe in laptops which has also increased the level of different teachers' knowledge about ICT.

"Before, some teachers didn't even have basic knowledge about computers but we are now able to prepare and teach lessons using laptops. We use them to project notes on the board and they have also helped us in doing research," he said.

Sylvie Nezineza a teacher at G.S Nyarubuye in Kabarore, Gatsibo District said that the laptops have reduced the cost they used to incur borrowing or buying books for the curriculum because everything is accessible on the internet through the laptops.

"We used to write everything on papers while preparing lessons which was quite a task and expensive. We could borrow laptops as well to prepare for exams. The school reports used to be prepared on paper too," she said.

She added that before getting laptops some books were not easily available stressing that laptops have availed all books in the system.

"We are currently saving time and it helps complete courses on time," she said.

Both Munyamahoro and Nezineza said that the only issue they face currently is the network which is usually poor.

"We hope government and service providers will look into it in the near future," she said.

The laptops are given to teachers free of charge and upon receiving them a teacher signs an agreement to take good care of it.

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