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EdTech Monday Partners Root For Digital Skills Dvpt Right from Early Childhood

by Daniel Sabiiti
2:10 pm

EdTech Monday-April

 EdTech partners have shown teaching technology to young children at an early age is one of the ways to make it easier for them to adapt to, use it as an education tool, but also use it in real life.

It’s suggestion they made during the EdTech Monday, April episode which focused on digital literacy as a crucial component of 21st-century skills.

EdTech is a monthly radio program hosted by KT Radio (96.7FM) and streamed live on the KigaliToday YouTube channel giving an opportunity for listeners and followers to interact on the current progress in the use of tech in education.

The program is sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation and the Rwanda Private Sector ICT Chamber and is part of the ongoing integrated, Africa-wide conversation of EdTech Monday which airs monthly on CNBC Africa and Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Facebook Page.

While Rwanda has done a good job in promoting ICTs, private stakeholders say they would want to see more skill development starting from childhood to adulthood, if the government is to meet its ambitions.

“There is a need for a campaign to mobilize parents as partners in the education of children, especially outside of Kigali, to have them see the need of use of technology in their children’s education,” said Margaret Bamurebe, a member of the Rwanda Association of Women in Science and Engineering (RAWISE).

Margeritte Bamurebe

In the associations’ findings, she explained, for example, the reason why they encourage girls to study Sciences is that they found out that girls are afraid because they grow up being told that these subjects are for boys.

Bamurebe says that if children (especially girls) are given the right message at an early age, it gives them the strength to love sciences, compete equally, and achieve their goals.

Célestin Ngendabanga, a tech trainer at Keza Education Future Lab LTD  said they are contributing to the development of technology (coding) in education at an early age, however, they are some gaps in skills and infrastructure.

“On the ground, we see a lack of teachers’ skills because they still have insufficient knowledge in teaching technology lessons in the curriculum (coding and programming),” Ngendabanga said.

“Thus it is necessary to train teachers in technology lessons to enable them to teach and prepare lessons. This should start at the pre-service and continue at the service level.”

Celestin Ngendabanga

To encourage more children to take up technology as an education tool, Ngendabanga and Bamurebe said that there is a need to put to use the existing ICT infrastructure such as laptops which remain idle and are only used once in a while.

“The existing ICT equipment in schools, such as ICT labs, should not be restricted to a certain time but remain open to students to use in order to cultivate interest in learning,” Bamurebe stated.

Keza Education Future Lab findings, child interest in learning ICTs can be increased with exposure and access.

For example, the lab took in and trained a handful of vulnerable children who were accessed with average coding knowledge skills of 32.7% but within months of using computers their skills had reached 67%.

“Their teachers told us that before this access they used to skip classes but after exposing them to such an opportunity, it sparked interest in learning and innovation among the children,” Ngendabanga revealed.

On this issue of insufficient ICT equipment in schools, the guests suggested that the private sector should chip in to solve this problem by providing affordable equipment for all to access.

This could be possible especially since all ICT equipment exported in Rwanda remains tax-free.

Shadrack Munyeshyaka

Shadrach Munyeshyaka, CEO and Founder of Nyereka Tech, also representing the private sector, says that they help entrepreneurs is to operate, get together, and discuss the challenges they often faced in the sector of technology but more work is needed to ease access to technology.

Munyeshyaka stated that there is a need to train teachers in various ICT skills as a way of building a base for skills among children but also encouraged the mobilization of Rwandans to utilize tech in their daily lives.

In order for a large number of Rwandans to participate in the use of technology, RAWISE emphasized the need for stakeholders’ cooperation with the government and other institutions in order to find a solution, especially on the issue of access to equipment and affordable internet.

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