ICT to be believed as the hope and backbone of education in the near future

ICT has become an important part of our daily lives, and will be even more in the future. Knowledge about ICT might become as important to elementary school children as reading and writing. ICT will be the changer-maker in education sector, however teachers are the ones to make it happen.

Ministry of Education of Rwanda and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) embarked on an audacious initiative to enhance ICT utilization in education in line with the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1 2017-2024). As part of the collaboration between the Ministry of Education, and Korea International Cooperation Agency agreed to collaborate on a project, which was designed to develop the ICT utilization capacity of schoolteachers. Teachers can only effectively integrate technology into their instruction if they are themselves knowledgeable about the technology. The CADIE project focuses on empowering school teachers to use ICT tools in their teaching and learning process.

Therefore, the use of ICTs is fundamental to achieving the rapid social and economic development outlined in Rwanda’s Vision 2050, and its use in education is therefore critical for enhanced use of ICT to transform teaching and learning and to support the improvement of quality across all levels of education in Rwanda. The Competence-Based Curriculum framework 2015 states that “The curriculum must enable educators and students to use ICT as a tool to improve the quality of education in all subjects at all levels in teaching and learning practices. ICT must support the emergence of teaching and pedagogical student-centered approaches as well as encourage research, communication, and collaborative learning”.

In this perspective, the CADIE project developed both In-Service and Pre-service Teacher Training Programmes with the aim of integrating ICT into the practice of teachers in the classroom. For example, CADIE In-Service Teacher Training Programme has been built by selecting competencies and objectives from the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for teacher’s (UNESCO ICT CFT) that respond to the requirements of the Rwanda Competency-based Curriculum (CBC), and that align with the needs of teachers with intermediate ICT skills.

Within this context, CADIE Project trained 6,618 out of 8000 in-service teachers targeted in 2020. Additional 8000 teachers trained on ICT skills, which gives us 14,618 teachers trained, and 30% of teachers use ICTs in the classroom before 2020-2021.

It is against this background from 14th April – 18th April 2021, CADIE project SPIU-REB trained 428 teachers from TTCs 9 ( Teacher Training Colleges), Centers of Excellence and TTC Model schools countrywide.

Teacher at GS Rwinzovu in Musanze district, Mr. Nsengimana Juvenal who has been teaching from the last four years says :”Through CADIE project, we are happy to receive computers as teachers , not only computers but also trainings which will lead to integration of ICT in our classrooms.” He said

ICTs can enhance the quality of education in several ways: by increasing learner motivation and engagement, by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills, and by enhancing teacher training.ICTs are also transformational tools which, when used appropriately, can promote the shift to a learner-centered environment.

According to teacher, Nsengimana, ICT will become the pillar of knowledge sharing in the near future’s education whereby students will also contribute to the knowledge or teach themselves without teachers. “ I believe that one day  students will teach themselves just because of ICT, teachers will not be only source of knowledge, instead the facilitators of knowledge sharing .”  He mentioned.

Different researchers have found out that computers  change classroom circumstances, making it easier for teachers to engage students in substantive, collaborative, project-based work. Laptops also made planning and group communication easier for the teachers . Students’s research can happen anywhere in the field, at home, in the library and data analysis, notetaking.Classroom dynamics changed when each student had their own laptop every day. Computer based work – such as writing and revising, printing, and sharing or collecting data became one of many activities happening in the classroom, and of course teachers become more able to engage students in inquiry-oriented, project-based learning.

Looking at the power of computers in classroom, teacher Nsengimana appreciated the distributed computers for teachers. “ Yes it is a blessings indeed! Having a computer of my own is another step toward integrating ICT in my class, and CADIE trainings will also boost my knowledge. I was not able to upload or download any document from google drive but now  I am comfortable with it. ” He added.

GS Rwinzovu is school of 1542 students in primary and secondary levels. 22 years of experience, Headteacher Kayumba Jotham believes that having computers for students was good but not enough, there was  a need for teachers’ computers, and importantly training as a school which has the combination of  MCE (Mathematics, Computers and Economics). “Look, my secondary teachers have been using only 10 desktops which we were given in 2005, but we are lucky now to receive more 52 laptops for teachers, and of course even students will benefit from this good contribution of CADIE project.” He said

Headteacher, Kayumba appreciated the contribution of boosting the usability of ICT in his school whereby teachers will also utilize the given ICT tools and knowledge gained from training. “I see my teachers doing research online, I see my teachers reviewing how other teachers do perform their duties from the regional or international level, there will be some kind of knowledge-boost.” He added

It is known that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is increasingly having pervasive role and presence in the educational milieu as it continues to shape all aspects of our lives. Teachers are widely believed to be the key agents of any educational change. Schools are rapidly embracing information and communication technologies (ICT). Globalization and the knowledge-based economy are leaving no choices for education system in Rwanda or  worldwide but to adopt ICT and weave it into their educational milieus. That’s why trainings on ICT tools is need always.

Teacher, Dushime Marie Florentine at GS Rwinzovu who teaches computer science lesson  believes in the power of training as the easiest way to ingrate ICT in classrooms. “ We are lucky to have master trainers here, we do appreciate the support of CADIE project SPIU-REB;  my knowledge was sharpened, I have learned  to send the work to students,  and they will be able to receive it from their homes but more trainings are needed.” She mentioned.


Rwanda farmers receive smartphones to boost new age agriculture

Female leaders of farming cooperatives in Rwanda have been given smartphones to sensitize farmers on agriculture best practices under the #ConnectRwanda initiative.

Farmer promoters and cooperative leaders play an important role in ensuring that best practices in agriculture are followed, hence resulting in better produce. On average, a farmer promoter has access to around 4,000 farmers. With these new smart phones, the beneficiaries will be able to easily access agriculture information and disseminate it to the farmers in their catchment area.

In her remarks, Hon. Paula Ingabire; Minister of ICT and Innovation said: “Agriculture being the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, women are great contributors to the growth of this sector especially in rural areas. In order to reach more development, women in agriculture should be placed at the centre of this transformation. Constituting more than 60% of the Rwandan agricultural work force, it is imperative that technology should not leave them behind in order for Rwanda to achieve great advancement in ensuring food quality and food security. We thank all our partners in this initiative.”

Prof. Jeannette Bayisenge; The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, said “We welcome this partnership between the Government of Rwanda and MTN through which female farmer promoters well given smart phones. These smartphones will help them to remain at the forefront in their agricultural activities and contribute on their families’ welfare.”

Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana; The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources comments “Female leaders of farming cooperatives need to access information and disseminate to those in their catchment area for effective operations. Now that they are equipped with the smartphones, they will be able to access and share information easily. This will help them to improve their agricultural activities.”

Hon. Gatabazi Jean Marie Vianney; The Minister of Local Government said: “We thank The President of The Republic for always striving for inclusive development. The smartphones you have received are bringing you technology, ensure to maximize their benefits towards a sustainable development.”

“We are glad to continue the Connect Rwanda initiative in partnership with the Ministry of ICT & Innovation, this time specifically focused on women farmers with the aim to empower them and their businesses, as we drive digital for a brighter Rwanda. As we wind down Women’s Month, we continue to recognise the importance women play in our economy and we are confident that these efforts to drive smartphone and internet penetration will make a difference.” – said Mitwa Ng’ambi, MTN Rwanda CEO

#ConnectRwanda Initiative was launched by MTN in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation in December 2019, with the objective of providing smartphones to unconnected households countrywide to leverage the digital economy. The essence of the initiative is for private companies, government institutions and individuals to come together and drive the digital agenda to connect all Rwandans.