Microsoft and the Rwandan Ministry of Education are teaming up to bring a better learning experience to Rwandan children. Through its Partners in Learning Program, Microsoft hopes to increase information and communications technology (ICT) throughout the Rwandan school system. Both parties feel that improved ICT access will facilitate teaching and learning while also increasing the chances every child receives a quality education.
Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program seeks to improve the student and teacher experience through technology. The program has invested over $750 million throughout the world, helping 12 million educators in 134 countries. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 13 million students have received benefits due to Microsoft’s initiative.
On the other hand, Rwanda’s educational system is in desperate need of aid. Only 6% of primary schools and 18% of secondary schools are connected to the Internet. Additionally, the student-to-computer ratio in Rwandan secondary schools is a feeble 40-to-1. Without adequate resources, it is difficult for many of these children to receive the technological background that is needed to survive in the modern age.
Rwanda is a country with a tumultuous history.
It has experienced the worst genocide in modern history, when clashes in 1994 between the minority Tutsi population and the majority Hutus left up to a million Rwandans dead and eliminated approximately three-quarters of the Rwandan Tutsis. Since the tumultuous violence of the 1990s, Rwanda has been working to remake its image.
In fact, it has made substantial gains in bringing stability, and subsequently the country has experienced average growth of 7% to 8% since 2003.
Microsoft and Rwanda’s partnership goes along with the government’s desire to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies. It has taken steps, such as establishing a Specialized Economic Zone in Kigali, to attract further private investment in the area and help jump-start the economy.
Through increased investment, Rwandan hopes to build up its infrastructure and lower poverty.
Currently, 44.9% of its population, almost six million people, lives below the poverty line. Additionally, Rwanda suffers from energy shortages and a lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries. Through efforts such as the Partners in Learning program with Microsoft, Rwanda is making the correct moves to attract private investment and improve both its economic potential and the lives of its people.
– Martin Levy