When one sees pupils at places like Kigali Parents Primary School, using laptops at school both in terms of curricula or extra curricula activities, you get to wonder if their age mates in village schools can do the same.
As the governments` efforts to making Rwanda a regional Information Communication Technology (ICT) hub come to fulfilment, it is essential to flash on to the young of our country and see if they are in line with and are able to effectively utilize the country’s attained ICT infrastructure.
Students in urban settings, have better chances of accessing ICT facilities than their upcountry counterparts. This is mainly because ICT facilities are better developed in the urban areas.
The fact that these two categories of students sit for the same exams further deepens the imbalance.
Alphonse Hagenimana, the Headmaster Gasave Primary School, Muhanga district in the Southern Province says this is a challenge which needs attention given its impact on learning.
He says that although the school is one of the best in terms of performance in the district, lack of computer lessons at the school needs to be addressed.
“Alongside academics, we have managed to make students engage in many school activities besides academics. Students have been involved in practical gardening in school gardens which includes planting trees, vegetables and animal husbandry among others.”
The fact that many students upcountry can not access services like the internet is of great concern to him.
“Given the rate at which children in city schools are picking-up with computer lessons to embrace ICT in the country, even students in village schools should be given the chance.”
“Learning how to operate computers is a major way through which students can realise development in this country,” he noted.
Hagenimana is aware of the One Laptop per Child programme. Only five schools in the district will access the programme.
“Although some parents in city schools have bought laptops for their children, others have got them free of charge.
It could be equally perfect if these services are extended to our schools too,” he says.
Eric, a Primary Six pupil expresses the same pessimism as his head teacher. He has never operated a computer nor has he ever set his eyes on one.
“I do not know how to operate a computer, besides I have never seen it,” he admitted.
Parents and the school administration have agreed to make all possible efforts to ensure that by next term, pupils` get to know what a computer is and start learning how to operate it.
“Although we do not have electricity, we have agreed that next year we will buy one laptop so that our children can know what a laptop is and learn how to operate it,” says the headmaster.
Like all other village schools and some schools in the city, computer lessons are important given the technology advancements not only in Rwanda but everywhere in the world.