KIGALI - The CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Dr. Alan Leshner, has said that Rwanda’s ambition to use ICT and Science to drive herself to prosperity, is ‘promising’ and a sign of the people’s determination to move forward and put the past behind them.
Speaking to the press shortly after paying a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame, at Village Urugwiro, Leshner, who heads the biggest science advancement body in the world, said that Rwanda stance on ICT development and science education is impressive.
“I discussed with the President the way in which Rwanda has been is using science and technology to build the country and it is very impressive that the decision has been made, by the President, to build the country on its brain and use the talent and resources in the country,” Dr. Leshner said.
The American don, who was in the country to attend a joint conference organised by the Ministry of Education and AAAS said that, as the biggest science advancement organisation worldwide, AAAS will continue collaborating with Rwanda to advance science and technology.
“In our cooperation, one of the things we have brought this time is a set of curriculum materials, ways in which you can determine if the education system is working right. This is one example of technical assistance,”
“Hopefully we will be able to develop more literal scientific collaborations,” said Leshner whose organisation publishes the biggest Science Journal worldwide and thousands of books and newsletters.
He said that his organisation is willing to provide the expertise to Rwanda and countries in the region in the areas of scientific development, including energy development, health, water quality and how to best use natural resources.
“I have been very impressed, all the times I have been here, that the people of this country look to the future and not stuck in the past. The past was not good and therefore the country has to look into the future,” said Leshner, citing King Faisal Hospital-Kigali, as one of the modern facilities that are being built to serve the future.
According to the Minister of Education Dr. Charles Murigande, the American association brought with it books that will guide the Ministry to develop a science curriculum that will help Rwandan children take on science subjects with ease.
“These are modern curriculum books used by countries like USA, Japan and these are what we also want to use to develop a science and technology curriculum for Rwandan children,” Murigande said.
He added that Rwanda will take advantage of its cordial relations with the organisation that boasts of a membership base of over 120, 000 experienced scientists, to advance its own science and technology education.
Murigande noted that there will be many reforms in the curriculum to ensure that students gain interest in science and technology at an early age, adding that it will be a gradual process in which experts from AAAS will assist.
Rwanda developed a relationship with AAAS in 2007 when the then president, David Baltimore, visited and later President Kagame participated in 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting, where he delivered a paper titled the “Challenges and Prospects of Advancing Science Sceince and Technology in Africa.”
Former ICT Minister Dr. Romain Murenzi, who accompanied Dr. Leshner, is a staff member of AAAS.