Ahead of the forthcoming distribution of the 5000 laptop computers to primary schools, authorities from the Ministry of Education evaluated the one laptop per child pilot project where 106 laptop computers were given to the Primary Five class of Rwamagana B Primary School in October 2007.
The evaluation was done by the Secretary General of MINEDUC, Justin Nsengiyumva, and the Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor to the ICT department in the ministry, Richard Niyonkuru
According to Nsengiyumva, the major aim of the survey was to establish whether the pupils who were given laptops during the pilot project have benefited from the computers and to find out whether they have in any way uplifted their learning.
“The pilot trial was aimed at establishing the feasibility of the One laptop per child project, whether it can succeed or not, as well as identifying the requirements of the project, before a large scale deployment in all primary schools of Rwanda” he explained.
During an interview with Niyonkuru, he revealed that as per the evaluation of the trial project, the One laptop per child project is prudent and that the forthcoming deployment will come with immense benefits. He said the findings indicated that pupils have benefited from the laptop computers.
They have learnt how to interact with the computer, how to surf the Internet and can get maps and scientific diagrams of various parts of the human anatomy.
“The children appreciated the education content especially due to the fact that the computers are packaged with comprehensive content on geography, science and the English language, which has improved their vocabulary,” said Niyonkuru.
“Some students pointed out that the laptops are very important because they have given them the opportunity to teach their parents since they go home with the computers,” he added.
The major challenges discovered during the survey are that the pupils are learning faster than the teachers hence compromising the learning process.
According to Niyonkuru, the teachers have been trained in basic computer skills, in preparation for the 5000 batch of computers to be distributed.
“After distribution we are planning to take two days in a week to carry out the second phase of training the teachers of the schools given the laptops at their respective schools,” he explained.
The distribution of the 5,000 laptop computers will be officially launched on the 5th of September 2008 at Kagugu Primary School in Gasabo District.
Other schools that will have a share of these computers are Nonko Primary School in Kicukiro and Rwamagana B Primary School in Rwamagana District.