The Ministry of Education will prioritise ICT in the 2016/17 fiscal year budget in line with the implementation of the new competence-based curriculum to make Rwanda a knowledge-based economy by 2020.
The Minister for Education, Papias Malimba Musafiri, made the remarks in Kigali, yesterday, as he opened a joint review meeting of the education sector performance in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
“The government of Rwanda believes in the use of ICT as a tool to strengthen education systems, knowledge dissemination, information access and more efficient service provision. With this belief, the ICT in Education Master Plan which is being developed will impact the delivery of education at all levels as it is aligned with Smart Rwanda,” he said.
The meeting attracted different education sector stakeholders, including the government, civil society and the private sector players.
“The Ministry is especially working with other ministries in charge of infrastructure and ICT to expand electricity and internet networks to schools across the country. We shall also train teachers in ICT so they can effectively assist students,” Musafiri said.
He called for concerted efforts to ensure successful implementation of the newly-launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically toward goal 4 which focuses on quality of education.
Partners in education commended the progress registered and pledged continued support.
“We have committed £62.5 million (Rwf70 billion) under the Learning-For-All programme running from this year to 2019 to support the implementation of a competence-based curriculum and improve literacy in English and Kinyarwanda languages,” said Dr Paul Atherton, the education adviser at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
“The ICT-driven education is good but it entails many aspects because having just a computer does not translate into successful learning. We need to work on clear objectives and content to support ICT which is currently the government’s priority to make Rwanda a knowledge-based economy. We are ready to provide technical and expertise support to achieve these targets,” he said.
Minister Musafiri said the sector has registered numerous remarkable achievements, specifically the increased enrolment rate from kindergarten to higher learning institutions.
The number of pupils in kindergarten schools increased from 142,471 in 2013 to 159,291 in 2014 reflecting an increase of 12 per cent.
Though the enrolment is still low in rural areas, we have increased focus on this education, considering that it is the basis for the future of our children, he said.
Over 1,600 classrooms and 2,604 latrines for kindergarten and primary schools were constructed in 2014/15 while 12 science laboratories were also constructed for secondary schools.
The number of trainees in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has increased from 83,893 in 2013 to 93,024 in 2014 and 729 out of 4,419 TVET instructors were trained in pedagogical, technical and ICT skills upgrading.
Adult literacy has also increased to 72.1 per cent in 2014 from 68 per cent in 2012 while primary schools internet connectivity increased by 8 per cent which was beyond the 2014/15 target of 7.7 per cent.
Minister Musafiri said the government will continue to link TVET to employment needs and enhance quality education to produce competent graduates for the labour market.