HUYE—A Geographical Information Systems course is soon going to included in current secondary school curriculum, Professor Kurt Brassel, director of the National University of Rwanda’s centre for geographical information systems said.
Speaking during a function to commemorate the ninth international GIS day on Thursday, Professor Kurt said that beginning next academic year, teaching GIS would spread from only university availability to being taught in secondary schools across the country.
The technology is a system for capturing, storing, analysing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the Earth.
“In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, we have designed a programme for secondary schools which will be implemented in 10 pilot schools with about 500 pupils benefiting,” said Professor Kurt.
Thirty teachers have been given training in GIS instruction. It is a programme expected to extend to all secondary schools in the next five years.
The centre for geographical information systems was started in 2001 in collaboration with the Diana Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
The centre is tasked with developing GIS and remote-sensing curriculum for instruction, assisting government and non-governmental organisations by providing training in the application of GIS tools.
The centre develops research in various topics of national interest and serves as a mapping unit to respond to the needs of the community.
The rector of the National University of Rwanda, Professor Silas Lwakabamba, called upon authorities at the centre to engage in projects that benefit directly the surrounding community.
“We have a lot that we can offer that Rwandan society as a university. It is important that you let the community know of what you are doing for them to benefit,” said Lwakabamba.
The centre has developed a GIS bachelor programme and offers semester and short courses to students of the faculties of agriculture, geography, biology, water-resource management and civil engineering.
GIS has been seen as a helpful tool to achieve common curriculum goals and provides to pupils an opportunity to use computers opening doors to topics like programming and databases.
GIS is also seen as an avenue for creating future job fields for Rwanda’s youth in fields of infrastructure analysis like road networks, cable networks, health and educational facilities.
The centre has three units; environment and natural resource management, society and land management and that of geographical information and mapping.