Technology alone won’t fix education challenges

Editor, RE: “Regional scholars discuss integration of digital education” (The New Times, April 26).


RE:Regional scholars discuss integration of digital education” (The New Times, April 26).


To find solutions to a tough challenge like building an efficient education system, you need to ask the right questions: What does it take to build efficient education systems?


Do you want an education that turns a child into a critical thinker—a responsible citizen or one that equips a child with a computer with broadband and all the digital things?


Maybe one may want a kind of education that does both; one that equips a child with technology to help the child turn into a real educated person. Let’s face it. Equipping schools with whatever technology isn’t going to give us the people we want.

For a while, University of Rwanda (UR) has been giving out computers (and there is internet on UR campuses right?). And remember the OLPC programme?

A good number of my friends still ask me questions that Google can answer in less than a second with tonnes and tonnes of explanation. And do kids in “École Primaire de Runaka” really use their XO laptops or at least learn how to take advantage of them? Nope. Not where I live.

Does anybody really believe kids without able teachers or with horrible education system (pedagogy and curriculum, etc) will survive because they will be equipped with technology?

Dear scholars, I understand education systems are probably the hardest of all institutions to build. But we can’t afford to take shortcuts; shortcuts lead to failure or fake success, if any at all.

Technology is just one component of excellent education systems. Without teacher-student-parent as a core of an education system, technology is a waste of time and money, both of which we can’t afford.

We need to address first fundamental issues, a few of them being pedagogy, curriculum, and teacher-student-parent interaction. A building without a strong foundation collapses soon, if it gets a chance to stand to begin with.

Will the builder be pleased or they will regret they had built a strong foundation first?


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