KIGALI, Rwanda, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- It is an awfully hot Friday. The nauseating dry haze has arrested the rolling hills of Gisozi, a suburban neighborhood of Rwanda's Capital City, Kigali.
"Please... please teacher," calls Magnifique Uwase of Gisozi Public School requesting the teacher to explain a computerized mathematical task.
Each student has a laptop. They are learning how to solve mathematical tasks, such as geometry, using computers.
The classes are intensely interactive, a humble beginning for developing minds who might end up in Silicon Valley.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the national coordinator of Rwanda's One Laptop per Child Project (OLPC), says, "We are preparing Rwandan kids for critical thinking, opportunity to innovate and later to create."
The OLPC project is an initiative of two US non-profit organizations, the Miami-based One Laptop per Child Association (OLPCA), and the Cambridge-based OLPC Foundation (OLPCF), created to engineer affordable educational devices for the developing world, including Rwanda.
It was initiated in 2005 by Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and chairperson, during a UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, Tunisia.
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame attended the summit and admired the project. He ordered for 10,000 laptops for a pilot. It was successful and Rwanda never looked back.
"The principal... is to provide every student with the opportunity to have one to one access to a computer or at least to share the computer with a few other students," says Prof. Lwakabamba, the minister of education.
Rwanda needs quality education that focuses on promotion of science and technology, critical thinking and positive values.
Prof. Lwakabamba says, "This project is one of the key strategies to achieve the country's [ICT] vision."
Today, 204,000 laptops have been distributed among 407 schools around the country, making Rwanda the 3rd largest deployment in the world after Peru and Uruguay.
200 schools are connected to a server, a wireless local area access point, and digital content including, eBooks, math, science and English courses.
Prof. George Njoroge is the principal for Rwanda's College of Education. "The country is pressured to fit into the IT globalized world," he says.
He believes, "What happens in classrooms is an indication of where the country is going."
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