There is need for every teacher to own a computer to facilitate their role in promoting smart classrooms.
Addressing hundreds of teachers in Musanze at the closure of Itorero for teachers, on Thursday, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi, asked the Ministry of Education to work with Teachers’ Saving and Credit Cooperatives (Umwalimu Sacco) on modalities of enabling teachers to get computers.
The Premier said that smart classrooms can’t effectively be operational when teachers do not have personal computers.
“I want every teacher to own a computer. The Ministry of Education and Umwalimu Sacco should explore ways to enable every teacher to own a computer. Each school owns a smart classroom which is an ICT lab but every teacher needs a personal computer,” he said.
Umwalimu Sacco’s role is in part to improve teachers’ welfare through offering low interest loans and to encourage savings.
Teachers said it has always been hard for them to buy computers even when they know their usefulness.
Smart classrooms are technology enhanced classrooms that foster opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating learning technology, such as computers, specialised software, audience response technology, assistive listening devices, networking, and audio and visual capabilities.
The premier also reiterated government’s goal of every student owning a computer.
“This is good news. We need computers but we had a challenge getting them. This is really a positive move for us,” said Speciose Mukasine, an ICT teacher at Groupe Scolaire Kabaye in Musanze.
“I teach ICT from Senior Four to Senior Six but I don’t have a computer. It requires sharing a few computers we have at school which are not enough. We have limited access, with a personal computer I will learn a lot which can enhance teaching,” she added.
The teachers suggested that once the proposal materialises the repayment should be spread over several months since some teachers already have loans they are servicing.
“Most of us still service loans we acquired in the same bank. But we would be grateful if our wish is considered and every teacher gets a chance to own a computer,” said another teacher who identified herself as Habimana from Nyabihu District.
Isaac Munyakazi, the State minister for Primary and Secondary Education said the ministry is optimistic they will engage Umwalimu Sacco to find friendly ways to help teachers to own computers.
“ICT in education is key to achieving our national vision. We started giving computers to schools to have smart classrooms but such classes are not only for students but also for teachers,” he said.
He added that the premier’s proposal was a motivation as the ministry also values equipping teachers with skills and to help them use such skills to be more productive.
“We will engage Umwalimu Sacco to consider facilitating teachers to own computers in a way that easily works for them,” he added.
According to premier Murekezi, the government so far has invested over Rwf16billion through Saccos since 2012 and the target is to invest total of Rwf30billion to help more teachers secure development loans.