KAMPALA - Rwanda has been commended for promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT) education through its “One Laptop per child” programme and for training teachers in the use of ICT technology, making it a model for other regional countries.
This was highlighted during discussions that were part of the activities of the second Uganda – Rwanda Education Expo that took place in Kampala last week.
Rwanda also received praise for translating e-content materials into local languages to benefit the local communities. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the exhibition on Friday, Namirembe Bitamazire, the Ugandan Minister of Education and Sports, reaffirmed that Rwanda had demonstrated leadership in the region concerning ICT education, emphasizing that other regional countries including Uganda have a lot to learn from her.
“This exhibition has emphasized science and the use of ICT in education and we have a lot to learn from Rwanda which has already intensified the use of ICT in education through several programmes,” she said.
In his keynote address at the closing ceremony, the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni underscored that this partnership in Education is a stepping stone for regional integration while emphasizing that a harmonized education system across the region should be fast tracked.
“Education policies should be creatively harmonized and since work is no longer human based, the use of ICT must be promoted. The numerical strength of the youth in educational institutions cannot be under estimated in the pursuit for regional integration,” he said. He added that events like Education EXPOs have the potential to promote integration at both institutional and regional levels.
In an interview with The New Times, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education said that he was happy Rwanda’s, “experience in ICT was appreciated during the exhibition” and noted that the government has made ICT development a priority in a effort to change the economy from being a subsistence based economy to a knowledge based one.
“Rwanda has contextualized the use of ICT and its application. ICT is meant to revamp the subsistence-based economy,” he said. He also observed the need to harmonise the education system in the region as part of the regional integration efforts.
“A harmonized education system across the region could greatly enhance movement of labour because when we have a standard system of grading for higher institutions, then people can easily get jobs from partner states,” Mutsindashyaka explained.
He also said that a harmonized education system would make it possible for partner states of the East African Community (EAC) to agree on definitions like “Basic Education” that currently differs between the two countries, noting that whereas in Rwanda Basic Education covers 6 years for primary and 3 years for lower secondary, in Uganda Basic Education covers 7 years and 4 years for lower secondary.
“Plans are underway to expand this arrangement to include the other partner States of the EAC in the next Expo in Rwanda next year. Our experience has shown that this can work and benefit member countries,” he added.
The second Expo that was organized under the theme “Education, a key to Regional Integration,” follows one hosted in Kigali in July last year.