Regional Members of Parliament have called for the adoption of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program by all five partner states of the East African Community (EAC).
This was one of the resolutions of the just concluded EAC Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar, which was dubbed Nanyuki IV that ended at Kigali Serena Hotel yesterday.
The OLPC program was launched by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday with a vision of empowering Rwandan children to acquire ICT skills at a young age.
“There is a huge technological gap in the teaching and learning environments between our schools and those in the rest of the world…this situation marginalizes our future generations.”
“It is recommended that the program of ‘One Laptop Per Child’ currently under implementation in Rwandan schools be adopted as a regional project with immediate effect,” reads one of the recommendations from the three-day seminar.
The parliamentarians tasked the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, who is also Rwanda’s Minister for the EAC, Monique Mukaruliza, to take up the matter to the Summit.
Nanyuki IV brought together members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) with parliamentarians from all the National Assemblies of partner states.
The MPs also proposed that all Ministers for the EAC Affairs be permanently stationed at the Tanzanian city of Arusha, which is also the seat for the bloc’s secretariat and the EALA, in order to boost the political support of EALA by the Secretariat.
This, however, received mixed feelings from some of the participants where some said that the issue be further scrutinized before recommending it for implementation.
“I propose that we look clearly into this issue before implementation because there might be some implications both political and economic from some of the partner States,” interjected Prosper Higiro, the Vice President of the Rwandan Senate.
During this seminar, Rwanda was represented by Senators as currently the newly elected members of Parliament are yet to be sworn-in.
The seminar also concluded that there had been inadequate consultation of the EALA and National Assemblies in the ongoing negotiations on the Common Market.
“The secretariat should therefore avail the Common Market Draft Protocol to National Assemblies and EALA and these consultations should be done by December 15,” reads the recommendation.
Other matters that arose during the seminar included the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EAC and the European Union, which they said was a raw deal that was poorly negotiated.
They called for all stakeholders to engage EPA negotiators by registering their respective concerns before the final signatures are appended to the agreements.
The seminar marked the end of the EALA which have taking place been in Rwanda for almost a month. During their stay, they, the EAC legislators also observed the recent parliamentary elections.