Yesterday the highly innovative and anticipated project, One Laptop Per Child, was officially launched by President Paul Kagame at Jali Club.
The project has been running on a small scale, and this has afforded the programmers an insight into how to progress.
In August for example, 5000 more laptops were distributed in three districts, after the great success attributed to the very few 100 pieces that had been given out initially in a trial run.
It is a certainty that Prof. Nicholas Negroponte’s confidence in the success of his project will be rewarded.
One of the principles under which the laptops are given, child ownership, empowers children in no ordinary way.
It gives them confidence to operate electronic equipment first of all, but more importantly, it puts them into direct touch with the machines and tools of today, without waiting for years until High School, to be able to touch the keyboard of a computer.
In one stroke, One Laptop Per Child has demystified the computer.
Also, this project is going to change the landscape of education in Rwanda.
There will be a fast move from teacher-centred learning, towards children enabling themselves to get own information, with mere guidance from their teachers.
There will be more emphasis on children finding out for themselves, since the computers come with very appropriate subject-learning packages.
It is in this light that the government of Rwanda is to be commended for its efforts to promote ICT and make it its engine of growth, and urged in the same breath to expedite arrangements of acquiring more laptops so that more and more Rwandan children get empowered and put on the road to becoming technology-savvy.