Partners in education technology (EdTech) have said that Rwanda needs to keep the pace in Learning models to improve quality of education despite a few remaining challenges.
The recommendation came throughout a discussion that brought together edtech actors at the monthly EdTech Monday radio talk show June episode aired this June 26, 2023 on KTRadio and Kigali Today’s YouTube Channel.
The talk show included three panelists including Eugene Karangwa, Chief Information Officer at University of Rwanda(UR), Christian Ikuzwe CEO of Academic Bridge, and Cishahayo Songa Achille, Founder, at Techinika- a tech software developer company.
The trio showed that despite the fact that Rwanda, like many other countries, was not prepared for the impact of COVID-19 on education but innovations in technology enabled the country to keep students learning in virtual classrooms.
For instance, Karangwa said that before the pandemic the university had a learning management system where lecturers can do pre-recorded lessons, and all University data was stored on the fiber optic server connecting all the six UR colleges.
However, Karangwa noted that their learning management system was not used and lecturers were not interested until the pandemic forced them to use the platform to continue educating students.
“It was not easy to have untrained lecturers use this system to teach online but we were forced by the situation to do it. We had to update that platform and teachers loading in the assignments and assessments,” Karangwa said.
Karangwa stated that blended learning is very important in improving the quality of education because it creates time to learn more in a short time but also complements physical learning with online platform learning, however, there is a need to increase internet access, especially Wi-Fi hotspots.
Ikuzwe said that during the pandemic they developed a teaching platform application that enables nursery, primary and secondary schools to teach remotely and the uptake was high.
“Over 300 schools use academia (bridge) technology but our online learning platform has very few users. We had many users during the pandemic but it is not the same case as students returning to school,” Ikuzwe said.
Paternalists also said that there is a need to develop more local EdTech applications with local, relevant and user-friendly content that Rwandan students read and associate with.
The EdTech Monday is a platform powered by the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT and Rwanda Private Sector Federation-Chamber of ICT, where significant discussions around technology and its scale-up in the education sector in Rwanda are tackled.
EdTech believes that to foster blended learning, robust internet connectivity and access to appropriate technology devices are crucial. Investments in expanding broadband infrastructure and providing schools with computers, tablets, or other devices are necessary to ensure equitable access to online resources.
Currently, Rwanda has 96% internet coverage across the country and though affordability of gadgets is a challenge, the government has partnered with UNICEF to implement the GIGA project to increase the number of computers and ICT labs in schools.