US institute launches e-Learning tool in Rwanda

Waterford Research Institute (WRI), together with the Ministry of Education, yesterday launched an Early Learning software that will help Primary One pupils with no English background acquire confident reading skills.
Pupils at Ecole Primaire de Kimihurura at the launch of the e-learning software yesterday. (Photo/ F. Goodman )
Pupils at Ecole Primaire de Kimihurura at the launch of the e-learning software yesterday. (Photo/ F. Goodman )

Waterford Research Institute (WRI), together with the Ministry of Education, yesterday launched an Early Learning software that will help Primary One pupils with no English background acquire confident reading skills.

The program, which is still in its pilot phase, was launched at Ecole Primaire de Kimihurara by Sharon Haba, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and Benjamin Heuston, the President and COO of WRI.

Speaking at the launch, Haba said that the programme is in line with the country’s vision of prioritising early childhood development, which she said will lay a foundation of building a knowledge-based society.

“We believe that our partnership with WRI will help address critical needs to expand and improve the quality of education through ICT and promote technological literacy for the young people” she said

She added that the programme will supplement existing projects like ‘One Laptop per Child.’

Haba said that the country shares the same vision as WRI which is promotion of ICT usage for social and economic transformation of societies.

“I am also positive that the early learners programme will greatly get a boost from our ongoing project to improve internet connectivity through the fibre optic cables which have been laid across the country,” she noted. 

She said that the project is part of the ongoing partnership dubbed Rwanda Education Commons, which was initiated by USAID and hosted by the education ministry, with an aim of providing a good platform for on-line training and education.

According to Heuston, WRI has proposed a multi-year pilot programme employing a complete computer-based continuum in explicit English language literacy, maths and science in Rwanda at Ecole Primaire de Kimihurara.

Explaining how the software operates he said that it supports the classroom teacher by providing first instruction, feedback, subject review and remediation customised to the individual pupil’s needs.

‘This programme will provide highly individualised instruction adapting to the abilities of each child, what they need most and allowing them to work at their own pace,” he said.

He added that children will develop vocabulary and critical thinking skills through rich reading experiences and also develop awareness of individual sounds in English words.

Isaac Ruganza, the headmaster of Ecole Primaire de Kimihurara, hailed WRI and MINEDUC for choosing his school as the venue where the programme will be piloted.   

Waterford Research Institute is based in USA and its mission is to provide equity and excellence in education through technology, ad developer of early education programs and software.

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