EdTech partners say students are willing to embrace digital learning methods which proved to be effective, provided affordable cost.
The partners made this observation during the EdTech program Rwanda− a Mastercard Foundation and ICT Chamber initiative hosted by KT radio every last Monday of the month that aims to spark the EdTech Ecosystem in Rwanda.
The program brought together stakeholders, including EdTech entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents to discuss how parents perceive the technology progress in education.
“When COVID-19 hit the country, most people understood that digital learning methodology was the way to go and they embraced it. Results were overwhelming,” Clement Ngirabatware, a teacher at IFAK school located in Kigali city said.
Ngirabatware said that students’ attendance on zoom programs and social media platforms was excellent and was confirmed by their results in the evaluation tests when schools were accepted to resume operations in November 2020.
“My daughter studies at Fawe girls schools’ in senior six. During the lockdown, we all realized the great importance of technology in education. I bought internet bundle for my children to follow classes online which made her busy and she is now performing really well,” Samuel Uwitezeyimana, a parent said during the program.
He added that schools and parents have embraced technology in the learning of students, but at different levels because of their various financial abilities.
“Depending on what I saw in the neighborhood during the Covid-19 lockdown, some parents can afford to buy internet and gadgets for their children to study online. But they like it. Firstly, they have to love and see it as a solution,” Uwitezeyimana said.
“Some students studied online using laptops, those are from privileged families. Those who couldn’t manage computers afforded smartphones or radios. Of course, there are areas where all technologies are impossible, like villages that do not have access to electricity.”
When the Covid-19 hit the world and Rwanda in particular, the Ministry of Education through the Rwanda Education Board(REB) advised schools and parents to adjust to online learning. Primary and secondary school curricula were uploaded on the websites to follow lessons.
For students who did not have laptops, smartphones, and Internet, radios and television were used in teaching to reach the majority of students from rural places across the country.
During the EdTech program, Eugene Igiraneza, Manager at O Genious Panda, a local tech company that helps students to access online content said that technology helps students to learn in a simplified way by visualizing information and hearing the sound.
“The youth need quality education and our reason being means we are there to help. Technology makes education easy, but most especially science subjects where lessons can be visualized,” Igiraneza said.
Rwanda’s efforts to promote technology in schools intensified in June 2008 with the government introducing the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project to help children in primary schools across the country develop creative technology skills and competencies.
Twelve years down the road, the OLPC program has promoted pupils’ learning and truly revolutionized education. However, technology in schools still faces challenges including inadequate internet connectivity in schools.