Rwanda is considering digitizing learning material to cut down the cost on books and other printed materials.
The Education Ministry says the investment, named ‘Smart Classroom’, will also ensure across the country can easily access same learning materials.
This, says John Rutayisire, Director General in charge of the Education Board, is Rwanda’s long term ICT plan where the ‘Smart classroom’ will help the country deal away with the burden of book costs.
Every year, Rwanda spends Rwf6bn ($8.6m) on books.
The smart classroom initiative comprises of three components; use of white boards, electronic devices such as computers and projectors, and digital content.
The government is engaging private partners to implement the ambitious initiative.
Positivo BGH, a Latin America multinational manufacturer of electronics, has signed an agreement with Rwanda to set up a plant in the country to manufacture and supply laptops, computers, tablets and other electronics. The firm will start production by March this year.
Rutayisire says, “With establishment of the plant, our education will not remain the same; you will see a great improvement in quality.”
Currently, Rwanda is implementing the One-Laptop-Per-Child program, where 204,000 computers have been distributed to 401 primary schools across the country.
Eric Kimenyi, Director of One Laptop per Child says the existing laptops will help to start smart classes in Primary, while in Secondary, Positivo BGH will provide subsidised computers.
Apart from rolling out high speed connectivity, to facilitate the penetration of Smart Classroom, even in remote areas, Rutayisire says, the government is investing in solar panels to all schools without access to electricity.
The project is expected to begin January 2016. “You may not suppress books overnight, says Rutayisire.
He however, notes that books will not be scraped off. “Even in the developed countries, hard books and e-books cohabitate.”