We are living in a world where the way teaching and learning happens has to sync with the latest technological advancements if education is to remain relevant. Proper education is now considered a strategic sector with every society doing its best to harness future opportunities.
Rwanda being very cognizant of these new realities has invested a lot of time and money in ICT infrastructure and more so as to anchor its education system on a solid foundation. Scores of Rwandan teachers and students can now access technology through the Education Ministry’s SMART Classroom programme. The Ministry has made significant strides towards digital transformation in education over 10 years ago with Microsoft through the implementation of its Partners in Learning, Education Transformation programme.
The strategy here is use to digital technology to change the way teaching and learning happening in a bid to improve on the quality of education as per the expectations of the current times. These interventions are already bearing some visible fruits although more still needs to be done.
Currently, over 130 000 Positivo devices have been manufactured, with 60 000 electronic devices allocated to Rwanda Education Board for distribution to different schools around the country.
Through the Partners in Learning programme in partnership with Microsoft, the Ministry also successfully upgraded 80 000 of these electronic devices to Windows 10 and installed and activated MS Office Professional Plus on them. These were shipped to schools in January.
The programme seeks to improve learners’ tech skills and eventually spur innovation among the learners. Through the programme, teachers and students have access to Windows 10, which delivers the ideal computing environment for education, providing users with more personalised user experiences. Windows 10 coupled with Office applications and services enables students and teachers to browse the web safely and even experience the fun side of learning with Xbox games.
In Partnership with Microsoft, the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Trainer Academy is now available in Rwanda and is designed for teacher trainers and those who are responsible for training educators on the integration of technology in the classroom. The first group of 21 MIE Master Trainers have been trained, over 60 000 teachers have received certification and 3.2 million students have access to free Office 365 which will not only help in staying organized and getting their work done today, but also develop valuable skills that will benefit them when they enter the work force. With Office 365 ProPlus they can access applications like Word, PowerPoint, OneNote as well as 1 TB of Cloud storage.
Plans are underway to develop a School Broadband connectivity plan using modern affordable access technologies like TV White Spaces, to enable access to other Microsoft Education and Open Education resources, creating opportunities for students to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and enable a paradigm shift in education in Rwanda.
Going forward, it is important to concede that digital transformation opens up so many opportunities in the education sector including aspects like data mining and analytics that can be use to monitor the progress of learners. Such data once well analysed forms the basis for solutions to students’ educational challenges. Another important area that digital transformation opens up is things like artificial intelligence that are now a huge buzz in the tech world.
There is no doubt that digital transformation and tech solutions accruing from Rwanda’s relations hip with Microsoft will lead to a clear improvement in skills development and an overhaul of the education sector.
Microsoft’s partnerships are not only in Rwanda or only in education as the article below shows.
Featured image: Salwa Smaouvi- Middle East & Africa Government Business Leader, Microsoft Makes her presentation at the Digital Transformation Workshop in Nairobi