The pivotal role of ICTs in social and economic development

Since Rwanda has limited minerals, its development relies on a solid base of human resources, qualified in science and technology, with particular emphasis on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This explains the prioritization of science and technology education in the country. Today the government of Rwanda has created a conducive environment, for promotion of science and technology education.

Since Rwanda has limited minerals, its development relies on a solid base of human resources, qualified in science and technology, with particular emphasis on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

This explains the prioritization of science and technology education in the country. Today the government of Rwanda has created a conducive environment, for promotion of science and technology education.

I think the targeted vision is to transform the nation into a middle income country, through use of science and technology, and in particular by use of ICTs.

On the development perspective, the role of ICTs is crucial to modernize and boost the Rwandan economy and society, using the technologies as an engine for acceleration of economic growth.

It is worth noting that the development of ICT in education, involves using ICT to transform the education system, with a view to improving access, quality and harmony with national development needs.

The Government of Rwanda has invested a lot of efforts to the development of science and technology education.

Under this initiative, suitable conditions have been put in place to help young boys and girls acquire solid skills in basic sciences, computer science and technology through adequate curriculum in the education system. This will foster the emergence of the high-level skills necessary for the expected technological transformation.

However, to make the programme of science and technology successful, there is an increased need to encourage and promote the education of girls, particularly in science and technology.

In addition, improvement of infrastructures such as construction and equipment of classrooms, construction of science laboratories, revision, adaptation and preparation of programs are required.

Other essentials are acquisition of school textbooks, training of teachers, procurement of science and ICT equipment, training of supervision and management staff at the central and decentralized levels.

More importantly, preparation and implementation of special programs to promote the education of girls especially in science streams, should be given special attention.

Today, Rwanda has made remarkable progress with respect to gender parity in primary education. A division that is responsible for the education of girls was created with in the Planning Unit of the ministry of education.

It can also be noticed, that achieving the millennium development goals related to equal access to all levels of the education, calls for efforts to ensure greater participation of girls in various disciplines right from the secondary level, and to ensure their retention through the training.

Though computer science and other ICT education programmes are not included in the official course outline for primary and secondary schools, they can be offered as extracurricular activities.

Technology should be integrated as an independent subject into primary education, and into the common core syllabus of secondary education, to promote early awareness among young people of the development challenges facing the country.

The curriculum reform, should also focus on various aspects such as providing a coherent definition of science and technology education from the pre-school level, through the primary and secondary levels, to the tertiary level, strengthening the basic concepts acquired at the kindergarten and primary school levels, introduction of specific programs in primary and secondary school such as computer science, ICT, and technology. Furthermore, training physics and technology teachers in applied mathematics to help them better understand and explain the scientific content of measurement chains and other experiments, is required.

With respect to the physical environment, providing adequate training in science and technology requires the use of modern, operational laboratories for physics, biology, computer science and ICT courses.

At the present time, only few secondary schools have operational science laboratories and qualified science teachers.

At the tertiary level, however, significant efforts have been made to integrate science and technology into the curriculum. For example, the National University of Rwanda (NUR) introduced ICT concepts in all its training programs and has an undergraduate program in ICT.

Therefore, Rwanda’s higher institutions of learning, which are also well equipped and have a sufficient number of teaching staff, can teach ICT.

We can therefore conclude that the main objective of the Government of Rwanda to base its economic and social development on the promotion of science and technology through ICT, calls for a revision and update of all education programs from a perspective that emphasizes basic science and technology.

The training of a scientific mind and the acquisition of the skills necessary for technological innovation, require that education be organized and themes formulated to allow a long and steady progression from kindergarten through higher education.

Ends

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