RE: “Our destiny: Educating to build a nation” (The New Times, March 22).
Rwanda is doing quite a bit in this area already. The focus I believe should be toward quality of education.
Recently I was listening to a high-school teacher in Rwanda about his take on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative on YouTube.
The teacher was very amazed about the programme and how it can transform lives but complained about lack of skills on his part and his colleagues, who are struggling to understand how the technology works.
For the most part, these teachers may have seen computers and perhaps even used them before to write a paper in Microsoft Word, and that’s it. And let’s assume that they do not own such devices at home. Yet, with the OLPC laptops, children are now learning basic programming languages for kids.
I think you will agree with me that such teachers are not ready for such a shift.
No one argues about the tremendous forward-looking policies of the Government. In fact, some African countries are scrambling to catch up with Rwanda.
I think the level of mentorship and training in all sectors needs to be cranked up a notch, especially as far as education is concerned. And what do I mean by that? I mean, how about creating an online course for public servants in Rwanda where public servants would login from home after work on their laptops and constantly upgrade their skills?
Whereas in other countries people do a 9 to 5 work shift, in Rwanda, I believe that public servants should be encouraged to go home and use an hour or two connected to these online courses to sharpen their skills.
In fact, this should become a culture.
What I mean is that we should set up servers around the country, create content for every sector and give access to public servants to this content and make online assessments and feedback.
There is need to retrain, re-assess and publish research and findings of best practices that bear results and informed policies and make informed targets and visions for the country for the next 10-20-50-100 years.
The future is now.