Smart Education Project to Bring Internet to 1,500 Rwandan Schools.
In a recent address to the Chamber of Deputies, Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation, announced that nearly 3,000 schools without internet will be connected to it by 2024.
The initiative is being made possible through funding from both the World Bank and China’s Exim Bank. Currently, out of the 6,756 schools in Rwanda, approximately 44.4% lack internet access.
This issue was raised by Jean-Bosco Munyembabazi, head teacher of Nemba Primary School in the Gakenke district, who emphasized the importance of internet access for educational tools like the Teacher Management Information System (TMIS) and the School Data Management System (SDMS).
Moreover, the Rwanda Education Board (REB) has been putting textbooks online and making them available for purchase, but without internet access, many schools are left unable to use these resources.
The lack of connectivity has led to a sense of isolation among students and teachers, with Munyembabazi comparing it to living in a place with no roads.
To address this issue, Ingabire shared the government’s plan to move forward with the Smart Education Project, which will connect all remaining schools to the internet.
The initiative will begin with the $30 million received from China’s Exim Bank, which will connect at least 1,500 schools to the internet from 2023 to 2024.
Ingabire also spoke about the Rwanda Digital Acceleration Project, which is being funded by the World Bank and aims to increase broadband access, build an environment for digital innovation, and provide digital public services.
With a budget of $200 million, a significant portion has been set aside for infrastructure, including internet access for schools. By 2024, the project is expected to enable nearly 3,000 previously unconnected schools to get online.
Ingabire acknowledged that the lack of electricity in some schools is another challenge, but suggested that solar energy could be used as a solution where possible.
The move towards increased connectivity is a significant step forward for Rwanda’s education sector, which stands to benefit from greater access to information and resources.