Lawmakers highlight ICT challenges in education, service delivery

Mukabagwiza presents the report on issues affecting ICT in education and service delivery. / Courtesy.

The ICT infrastructure programme, designed to help achieve Rwanda’s vision of a knowledge-based economy, is facing issues that affect its effective implementation, lawmakers have warned.

The issues include inadequate skills of teachers who deliver ICT enabled education, Edda Mukabagwiza, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, said while presenting a report to the plenary on Thursday, February 13.

The report was compiled as a result of findings from parliamentarians’ field visits that were intended to assess the state of infrastructure countrywide.

The MPs conducted the tour between December 2019 and January 2020.

MP Mukabagwiza said that another problem was that ICT infrastructure and equipment used in teaching courses were given to some schools but they are not used partly because they are not enough.

In another case, she said that computers that were given to schools are repaired or maintained by Rwanda Education Board (REB) staff only, which results in delays as there is no other option.

“Some schools don’t have smart classrooms because they do not have access to electricity,” MP Mukabagwiza observed.

Another concern is service delivery of Irembo e-government service portal that is performing poorly in some parts of the country because of slow internet connection which delays service provision to citizens.

Moreover, the report indicated that there are some parts of the country which do not have telephone network, because they lack network infrastructure.

Another challenge that was identified through MPs’ evaluation is network interference, which is affecting people living in parts along borders between Rwanda and neighbouring countries.

She said that the computers that were given to schools do not have the capacity to handle some of the programmes such as Geographic Information System (GIS) – a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present spatial or geographic data – which schools are required to teach.

The parliamentary plenary adopted several resolutions, including that the Ministry of ICT and innovation should put in place strategies in place to avail network countrywide and address the network interference in districts near borders.

Others are to improve Irembo-service delivery, and address the issue of telecentres which are not operational in some cases.

Telecentres are public places where people can access computers, the Internet, and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn, and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills.

The plenary resolved to summon the Minister for Education after the parliamentary standing Committee on Education, ICT, Culture, and Youth completes its on-going evaluation of the education sector, and merge the findings with those contained in the last Auditor General’s report.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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