Bridging the digital divide? Education challenges and opportunities in Rwanda

The digital divide creates and is also a reflection of inequality in society, preventing those with no access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resources and electricity supply from accessing the benefits of globalisation and participation in the knowledge-based society. This paper contends that, despite national efforts in providing an enabling policy environment and opportunities for teachers, learners and communities in Rwanda to take advantage of the potential of ICT, increasing numbers of members of social groups (girls, rural teachers and learners, communities) continue to subsist outside the margins of the knowledge society. The digital challenges in education are immense and require a combination of efforts to realise the basic tenets of social justice, that is, redistribution, recognition and participation. It argues further that the digital divide in Rwanda might not be narrowed simply by distributing material digital resources to schools but by recognising the challenges of marginalised social groups in schools and classrooms and ensuring their involvement in the pedagogical process. An EdQual research project is carrying out action research with science and mathematics teachers and learners to establish strategies for making use of existing ICT facilities to enhance pedagogy.

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