Carnegie Mellon University provided a 14-day training to more than 300 pupils from Saint Vincent Pallotti primary school. The programme ended last weekend.
Rwandan government’s initiative focused on ensuring the country’s citizens gain ICT skills is credited for the university’s programme, which is aimed at introducing pupils to basic computer skills.
Carnegie Mellon University Associate Director Michel Bezy attributed the programme to students who decide to offer the service as part of community outreach service program.
“Our students started this program last year to be coming to Rwanda every year. Already they have developed programs that can be used in the ‘one laptop per child’ computers. We target to introduce technology to these children while still in primary school,” he said.
One Laptop per Child Project (OLPC), Chief Technical Officer, Eric Kimenyi, hailed the university’s efforts in supporting the programme saying the children in the region have benefited a lot from the training.
Chantal Umutoniwase, a 14-year-old pupil, after going through the programme, said her typing skills improved significantly and vowed to explore other programs on her laptop.
“I am so happy to learn how to use the Computer even before I join Secondary School,I hope to have learnt a lot by the time I reach University,” she said.
Umutoniwase hopes that Saint Vincent Palloti primary school would get more trainers to teach them other computer skills.
The OLPC programme was founded in 2007 through the Give One Get One donors initiative. Thousands of laptops have been donated to Rwanda through the initiative.
OLPC opened a Global Center for Excellence in Laptops and Learning at the Kigali Institute for Science, Technology and Management (KIST) to support OLPC the programme.
According to OLPC reports, the programme has provided over 100,000 laptops to primary pupils and teachers in the region.
President Paul Kagame has expressed Rwanda’s commitment to support primary schools with 500,000 laptops over the next 5 years.
Rwanda Vision 2020 by the government outlines plans for the nation to move “from the humanitarian assistance phase associated with the 1994 genocide to one of sustainable development”.
It targets use of ICT prowess as the right bridge of moving from agriculture to knowledge-based economy.