Rwanda’s Partnership With Microsoft Boosts Online Education Roll Out

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: May 4, 2017, 7:22 am
made in rwanda - Online educationOnline education is becoming the rule in Rwanda. Photo: newtimes.co.rw

The Rwandan government’s partnership with Microsoft is benefiting efforts to roll out online education initiatives that are envisaged to become standard across the country in the next three years.

The giant American multinational technology company is working with the Rwandan authorities in the pursuit of their short and long-term objectives to make Rwanda a digital learning pioneer on the African continent.

By June this year, the Rwandan government is aiming to see around 50 percent of all subjects taught online.

A lot of training will be required for both students and those teaching them, in order for both sides of the equation to be fully prepared for digital learning.

Teachers from public institutions will each be provided with a laptop, allowing them to develop and perfect the skills needed to teach students via digital education.

The government’s partnership with Microsoft will enable the globally recognized company to incorporate technology into the country’s education sector by the year 2020.

Over 50,000 laptops have already been provided to those in public schools, while 50 percent of the teachers in primary and secondary schools across Rwanda now have access to these computers, according to ITNewsAfrica.

Promoting a culture of online education

In 2016 the country formalized their push towards a culture of online learning, creating policies that would assist the sector to grow and thrive, with learning institutions from primary to tertiary level urged to embrace e-learning, distance, and open learning.

The policy’s aim is to provide nationwide coverage and transform the education system, especially at the primary and secondary level.

Warren Lafleur, head of education for West, East & Central Africa at Microsoft, explained the reasons behind partnering with Rwanda in a conversation with CNBC Africa, when the commitment was first announced.

“Rwanda’s ambitions are aligned very strongly with things we are looking at developing in Africa like developing human capital that has strong ties to economic growth,” Lafleur said. “We believe in the notion of the mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

A push towards online learning is also in line with green objectives that are becoming increasingly important, as less paper is used in the digital education process.

Andrew Cohen Gahire, a Rwandan alumnus of Oklahoma Christian University, advocates for the benefits of a paperless education system that is environmentally friendly.

“Everything is submitted online, there is no use of papers and pens. It is good for the economies that are going green,” Gahire explained, according to NewTimes.

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