State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, has said that the use of computers by students will help increase the quality of education in the country.
He said this yesterday during a function at Green Hills Academy that saw around 320 students given the XO laptops meant to help them basically in writing and storing their academic material for future use.
The laptops that were awarded under the “One laptop per child” programme have the capacity to also capture pictures, record audio files, and have the ability to tap wireless internet connection.
Mutsindashyaka explained that the policy to use laptops in schools is in line with the ministry’s ICT in Education policy, where they are expecting to finish the Digital Content project within two years.
“With internet connection, there will be no more needs for books,” he noted, explaining that students will be able to access every material they need, just by downloading them from the internet.
Each laptop costs US$ 220 and about 320 parents at Green Hills Academy have already paid for their children to own one among the 350 laptops that the Kigali-based private school received.
Mutsindashyaka was however quick to mention that vulnerable children will receive them for free, but added that the price itself is not alarming.
“The amount you use to buy books is almost the same amount to buy this laptop,” he said, adding that the advantage with laptops will be in having every document stored for use in the future.
He also thanked Green Hills Academy school administration for having been a pioneer in private schools to procure the computers for their students.
Christine Ishimwe, a Grade 4 student at Green Hills Primary School, expressed her satisfaction wint the green-and-white coloured laptop, saying it will help her learn more and be able to store her notes.
“It was very complicated with books, but now I feel very happy with my laptop,” Ishimwe said as she joyfully played on her laptop’s keyboard.
XO laptops were created by Nicolas Negroponte, Professor at Massachusetts University, USA, with an aim of having the cheapest laptop as a small but fully functional computer designed for children.
They are designed with the use of NAND technology, a fact that, according to technicians, makes them not easily breakable.
They have only 1 GB capacity but accept external hard drives for documents storage and the battery can last at least six hours.
At Green Hills Academy, teachers first trained by technicians from KIST to equip them with appropriate knowledge of the tool so they could explain to their students how to use them.