Where do stolen computers go?

Last week, teachers from over 739 schools in the country were quizzed on missing computers, most of which were stolen from their schools.

The computers fall under the One-Laptop-Per-Child and the Smart Classroom initiatives, two projects that have seen up to 69,982 computers distributed to schools around the country.

In 2018 alone, 100 computers were stolen from schools, according to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).

Overall, RIB said, 939 computers have been stolen. But where do the computers end up?

Addressing teachers, Felix Namuhoranyi, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, said computers are sold both in and outside the country.

He cited a shop they visited in Goma, a border town in the Democratic Republic of Congo selling only used Positivo computers,

“Where did they get them? The shop selling these computers is just across the border (from Rwanda), and that night computers had been stolen from Rubavu,” he said.

He hinted that the fact some computers are sold in local communities will make them carry out a house-to-house operation

“We will enter into houses and see what is there. We will put aside computers that we find there and check them,” he said.

“Lucky enough they are engraved. The thieves can remove the marks but we are able to get an idea of where the marks were,.” he added.

In an interview with the media last week, Jackline Umurerwa, the head teacher of Camp Kanombe, cited cases where students borrow computers and don’t bring them back. She said the school lost about 68 computers of the One-Laptop-Per-Child programme.

She added that it happened in 2012 before she had joined the school. However, she found out from her predecessor that some of these computers were lost as a result of lending them to children who failed to return them.

Speaking in an interview with The New Times, Christine Niyizamwiyitira, the Head of ICT Education at Rwanda Education Board, said some teachers and students were currently under investigation.

“Computers are stolen and you don’t see any broken doors. It means that somebody with a key had opened,” she said.

Besides hiring security guards, other measures that can be used for computer safety include using CCTV cameras, officials said.

The Government has spent Rwf23 billion on the distribution of ICT equipment in schools in recent years.




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