Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremye, together with visiting Chinese official, Li Yuanchao, yesterday launched a state of the art e-Learning facility at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
The laboratory was established at a cost of US$ 500,000 (approx. Rwf 300 million) donated by Chinese IT giant, Huawei.
The facility enables students to follow lectures, communicate and see each other in several locations. One can also record the whole lesson and follow it afterwards.
“When President Paul Kagame visited Huawei headquarters in 2007, its chairperson, Sun Yafang, donated the facility to improve the country’s e-Education situation,” said KIST Rector, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya.
The system is expected to become a bridge for knowledge exchange, enhance communication between students of both countries and promote communication between KIST and other international universities.
Mujawamariya, said the new technology would help students follow lectures conducted by one lecturer teaching a number of classes at the same time.
“This system is one of the strategies that will help increase quality education by reducing the student: teacher ratio. It’s also going to reduce costs, time and sharing learning resources among students at the same time. This wouldn’t be possible with the classical method of one lecture per classroom at a given time,”Mujawamariya said.
Yuanchao, a Member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese ruling party, Communist Party of China, said KIST is the future of Rwanda and hoped that students make good use of the e-Learning system and contribute to the progress of the country.
Aimee Chantal, a third year Computer Engineering student at the institution, said the new system would be very helpful as they can have access to it anywhere as long as they are connected to the software.
She added that it would also accommodate a larger number of students at the same time and help them interact with colleagues from other institutions of higher learning.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Rwanda and China signed a bilateral Economic and Technical Cooperation of US$ 9 million interest free loan.
Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, assured the Chinese delegation that the support received would be put to good use.
Concerning how the money would be utilised, the minister said the two parties would make consultations to identify where the money would be invested.
Mushikiwabo said trade volumes between Rwanda and China have more than quadrupled in the last five years.