A famous quote by Rodgers says “it’s not enough to know something; it’s more important to know why and how”. This adage tallies suitably with the government’s agenda to introduce a new system of teaching that emphasises the use of computers and internet to impart knowledge in schools.
This is a tailored programme that will enable students to access computers and basic Microsoft software installed in them such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PowerPoint, among others, to digitise subject content delivered in schools, and to help students get access to internet in their schools.
The Internet has become not only the wealthiest information resource in the world, but the most rapid means of communication. In addition to equipping school children with information technology skills and knowledge, typologies of internet application in education is understood as the usage of internet technologies to solve various routine educational tasks, most notably teaching, learning and management of the educational process.
By using web application, it will enable teachers to conduct teaching with such technologies, which for the contemporary generation of students present an integral part of their lifestyle. To school children, the usage of internet-connected computers in classrooms will encourage self-learning and students’ motivation.
Again to the school children, if the changed model of teaching becomes a reality it will profoundly re-shape the students’ behavior to accommodate to the digital age. Giving up the reproductive model and onsetting the creative pedagogy implies an emphasis on the development of independent students’ activities and their critical thinking and skills in fixing real problems that affect society.
Furthermore, when school children are helped to access information and communication technology, it will promote digital literacy in society as a whole. As a result, it will embolden the careers in the science and information communication technology, which tallies very well with national priority areas.
However, a counter balance ought to be done to avoid students using the internet in a manner that is abusive and unorthodox. Arguably, educators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and cybercafé owners must be alert to protect children’s safety when using ICTs and promote their positive use.
As noted in this column previously, internet is not, however, a panacea. Therefore, no reluctance to pre-empt possible cyber abuses, such as cyber-sexting, cyber bullying and other online harmful content.
A paradigm shift to internet usage in education will not only revitalise education-related aspects but will also be a means of promoting the human rights on the internet, as envisaged in numerous national and international norms. Under Rwandan media law, for example, everyone has the right to receive, disseminate or send information through internet.
Understandably, a person has the right to create a website through which they can disseminate information or their opinions, and this doesn’t require the netizen to be a journalist. Like adults, school children have the right to freedom of expression through any media channels of one’s choice, including new communication technologies such as the internet.
Internationally, the same rights people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Aside from recognising the right of the Internet, open nature of the Internet is a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms, including in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Returning to education, no doubt the Internet bolsters quality education that plays a pivotal role in development, and therefore calls for all stakeholders to contribute to this awesome undertaking designed to produce resourceful youth. Equally, it promotes the right to education, which encourages individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits.
Enjoyment of human rights on the Internet by school children is an important tool for fostering citizen and civil society participation, for the realisation of development in their communities and the country at large. However, the promotion and protection of the “digital individual” in a human rights perspective is currently a topic of great concern and some urgency.There’re challenges as to make the protection of human rights effective in the online realm, especially with regard to the privacy.
The right to the Internet enjoyment by school children is inextricably linked with the requirement for privacy protection. The right to privacy is a human right and the need for privacy is universal and deep-seated in each human being. Privacy is essential to human dignity and autonomy in all societies, enabling individuals to create barriers to protect themselves from interferences in their lives, such as their information and communications.
In closing, the Internet is an issue of growing interest and importance as the rapid pace of technological development which enables individuals all over the world to use new information and communication technologies. Thus, training school children in information communication technologies will be catalyst to their future role in bridging many forms of digital divides that remain between developed and developing countries, between men and women, and between boys and girls.
The writer is an international law expert.