A new initiative that is expected to boost teachers’ computer skills and connectivity in schools has been launched.
The Smart Teacher Initiative is a joint venture between Aritel Rwanda, Umwalimu SACCO, and Africa Smart Investments, the sole distributor of Made-in-Rwanda laptops – Positivo.
According to Jean Desire Usabyimana, the Smart Teacher Initiative representative at Umwalimu SACCO, the strategy will help increase computer literacy levels and teachers’ competitiveness in the country.
Under the project, over 80,000 teachers will acquire laptops countrywide, plus Airtel Internet modems loaded with two years worth of unlimited data to boost connectivity.
Francois Karenzi, the Africa Smart Investments chairman, said access to the Internet is essential for teachers, adding that it aids the learning process.
Phillip Onzoma, the head of Airtel business, said the initiative will increase knowledge sharing and skills between teachers and learners.
How it will work
To acquire a laptop and a modem, a teacher will apply for a loan from Umwalimu SACCO, payable in 24 installments spread over two years.
Once the loan is approved, the SACCO will pay the full amount to Africa Smart Investments and the devices will be delivered to Umwalimu SACCO branch for pickup.
Only Umwalimu SACCO members will benefit from the initiative. Onzoma said teachers will only pay Rwf2,700 for unlimited Internet per month. Modem cost Rwf13,920 each.
Last month, government unveiled a laptop purchase programme for university students in partnership with private sector firms. The programme is part of “Viziyo” initiative that aims to accelerate penetration of smart devices in Rwanda and increase Internet penetration in the country.
Intel, Africa Smart Investments, Positivo BGH, MTN and Microsoft, as well as Bank of Kigali are the private companies supporting the project.
The government has heavily invested in ICT infrastructure, with 4G LTE Internet expected to have been rolled out to most parts of the country by 2017.