Give us laptops, teachers tell govt

Teachers from GS Nganzo Gakenke District. Teachers have appealed to government to give them laptops saying it would make them more effective in their work. Régis Umurengezi.

Teachers have appealed to the Government to give them laptops.

They say this would allow them to use the gadgets both at and out of school and help them better prepare for classes and carry out research on the subjects they teach.

The proposal came up last week during a meeting in Nyabihu District that brought together primary and high school teachers from several districts and education officials who were in the region as part of a two-week countrywide Quality Education Enhancement Awareness Campaign.

The teachers said they face a myriad of challenges while preparing lessons, including a shortage of updated textbooks, stressing that personal laptops would help them overcome such challenges.

The gadgets, they said, would help improve their comprehension of the recently rolled out competency-based curriculum. 

“In the new curriculum some modules don’t have corresponding textbooks yet but access to computers would help us get the material for the new modules,” said a teacher from EAV Bigogwe in Nyabihu District.    

Sylivère Ndagijimana, a teacher from GS Ruganda in Gakenke District, said: “It is not easy for a teacher to own a computer; our financial capacity does not allow to. If we can get laptops of our own I am sure we would perform better.”

“Why can’t we have One Laptop per Teacher, for example?” he said, perhaps inspired by the One Laptop Per Child scheme under which thousands of laptops have been given to pupils around the country.

Commenting on the matter, Irenée Ndayambaje, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board (REB), advised teachers to work with their respective teachers’ saving and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) to give them loans to buy computers. 

“One laptop per teacher is actually in place but then it has to be done through the SACCOs, but for us (REB) we are thinking of having a computer as a teaching and learning resource belonging to the school. If you want to own a personal computer, get it through your SACCOs then you can pay for it in installments,” Ndayambaje said.

However, the Minister for Education, Eugene Mutimura, said the ministry has a special programme for teachers from both Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) schools and universities under which they would own computers.

But he said they would need to first comply with certain requirement which includes signing a contract with Workforce Development Authority (WDA) – for TVET instructors. 

“You sign for a computer and once you successfully use it for a year, it becomes yours, but when you lose it before that period elapses you pay through deductions from your salary,”  Mutimura said during the event at EAV Bigogwe.

In a move to incorporate ICT into various aspects of the country’s education system and to help revolutionarise teaching and learning systems, the Government launched what it terms the ‘smart classrooms’ programme in public schools. 

According to REB officials, the target is to have all 1,500 secondary schools equipped with ‘smart classrooms’ but, so far, only 645 schools have been covered.

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