One laptop per teacher improves teaching skills

Everyone was too busy with the one laptop per child programme that it didn’t cross our minds that teachers too need these gadgets. But now, GiraICT, an organisation under the Private Sector Federation (PSF) that aims at increasing ICT penetration, came up with the one laptop per teacher programme.
The one laptop per teacher has helped teachers improve their teaching skills. The New Times / File.
The one laptop per teacher has helped teachers improve their teaching skills. The New Times / File.

Everyone was too busy with the one laptop per child programme that it didn’t cross our minds that teachers too need these gadgets. But now, GiraICT, an organisation under the Private Sector Federation (PSF) that aims at increasing ICT penetration, came up with the one laptop per teacher programme.

“Unlike the one laptop per child programme, this isn’t free, though we tackle laptop penetration in the teaching sector at factory price. We get laptops and sell them to teachers on a loan basis because most of them have a standard salary and the one thing that has helped us is that the biggest number of them belong to Umwalimu Sacco Bank,” Pius Abijuru Romeo, the Project Director said.

In a period of five months, over 500 teachers have been able to get laptops and there are many more applications pending. Many teachers who got them hail the programme and advise other teachers to take this step in order to perk up their teaching.

Jean Baptiste Uwamuremwe has been teaching Biology in St Joseph’s Secondary School for three years but as he taught some things, he had never really seen how better it can get until he got his laptop.

“When I got my laptop, the first things I researched were in line with the topics I was teaching and it was amazing how much knowledge was on the internet. I can save pictures and demonstrations on my laptop and show my students as I teach. It is much easier for all of us because the material is at our disposal,” he said.

Umwamuremwe also said that other than teaching, he became is informed on what is happening around and keeps in touch with relatives around the world through social media.

Kabega Appoline, a teacher in one of the government schools in Kigali said the time she takes to prepare her teaching plan and notes has greatly reduced and she now teaches with a lot of efficiency.

“I would take a full night to prepare work for just two hours. It was very tiresome but now things have changed. I take about 30 minutes now and I also do some research to prepare the best work for my students.”

“I am a science teacher and things keep changing. With the internet and my laptop, I can keep updated. I have become a better teacher with my laptop. It really is of great help,” she said.

Kabega urges other teachers to embrace the programme and also have a strong teacher’s network through sharing notes and other new things on the internet.

In addition to the laptops, GiraICT also gives teachers internet for six months to give them more time to do whatever research they may need.

Abijuru also pointed out that the programme isn’t just meant to supply laptops but to also make sure that they are used.

“Aside from supplying laptops on loan, we went to different districts for ICT awareness campaigns; we talked about the importance of these laptops to teachers and many others. We are now working with every branch of Umwalimu Sacco to take the laptops to teachers all over the country without them necessarily coming to Kigali,” he said.
Abijuru said they are targeting about one thousand teachers by the end of the year but hope to have all teachers apply for this programme as the payback sum isn’t heavy at all.