The end of July 2023 Education Technology (EdTech) Monday episode will focus on technology as an enabler of equity and inclusion for education considering investments and innovations in addressing existing challenges.
Rwanda is one of the world’s fastest growing economies which aspires to become a middle-income country by 2035. Nonetheless, the country confronts significant obstacles.
Three out of every five Rwandans live on less than $1.90 a day. Despite significant advances in the education system, particularly in terms of access to school, 121,348 children and 32,455 adolescents remained out of school in 2019, (Global Partnerships for Education-GPE) 2023.
Many teachers work two shifts a day to expand access to school, a practice that the government has begun to address by building more classrooms and hiring more teachers. Rwanda’s government places a high value on education.
Part of this development also includes working to increase equity in education, with a particular emphasis on teaching girls and children with special needs. GPE has assisted the country in closing the already narrow gender gap in pre-primary and primary enrollment. While the gender difference between boys and girls has narrowed, girls continue to be more likely than boys to drop out of primary school.
The difficulties for children with special needs may be enormous, with roughly one in every three youngsters failing to attend school. One of the challenges to education for children with disabilities is a lack of teachers who are prepared to educate children with disabilities; for children with physical disabilities, the long trip to school can also be a challenge.
GPE assisted the government in educating over 7,000 teachers in inclusive education in 2018, more than tripling the amount taught the previous year, with the objective of eventually training every teacher, to enhance the enrolment and retention of children with special needs. To aid learning, resource rooms for students with disabilities were built with learning equipment and inclusive education toolkits.
The technology has allowed Rwanda to create more inclusive learning environments for students with disabilities. Assistive technologies, such as screen readers, voice recognition software, and braille displays, have been implemented to ensure that students with visual, auditory, or mobility impairments can fully participate in the educational process.
A disability-inclusive and gender-responsive approach to technology-enabled education may address disparities in connectivity and digital learning, as well as inspire innovation to promote learning mobility as a vital component of educational equity and inclusion.
To assess the current situation and look into possible solutions to the above concerns, the EdTech Monday will, for example, show what further investments and efforts could be applied to support underprivileged students in Rwanda to benefit from the use of technology in education.
The show, sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation and Rwanda Private Sector Federation ICT Chambers will be streamed on KT Radio on July 31st 2023, and simultaneously live on Kigali Today Youtube channel from 6PM to 7PM.
There will be 3 panelists and a KT Radio presenter, Ines Nyinawumuntu to moderate the discussions but also engage a large audience in order to unlock their ideas and recommendations in reference to the topic of the day.
Some of the key questions to the panelists and for listeners to look forward to and participate in will touch on the level of equity and inclusion in education in Rwanda.
The existing evidence where technology in education has been used to drive equity and inclusion for, especially undeserved learners and to address the double-edged barriers or challenge of the cost of education and exclusion to these groups.
Considering the aspect of exclusion from education which is especially seen among women and girls, how can Rwandan technology developers create targeted products that can improve gender-equity and social inclusion?
What innovations can be considered to address the education exclusion for persons with disabilities (PwDs) , learners especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds, living in rural areas?
Panelists will also look at the role of partnerships in assistive technologies to achieve equity and inclusion; the impact their organizations towards inclusion with positive results and how this can be replicated going forward.
Finally, the panelists will make some recommendations on the contribution of policymakers and stakeholders in creating policies that advocate for the rights to equity and inclusion in education in Rwanda.
EdTech Monday was initiated in 2019, as a platform to have significant discussions around technology and its scale-up in the education sector, bring together EdTech entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators, and parents.
As an integrated, Africa-wide conversation the EdTech Monday is aired monthly on CNBC Africa and Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Facebook Page.
Aligning to the monthly Africa theme, Mastercard Foundation offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria, in partnership with local EdTech support organizations, similarly disseminate discussions within the local context, expertise, nuances and case studies.