Introducing ICT into schools in Rwanda: Educational challenges and opportunities

The Rwandan government views Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a key tool for transforming the economy, with the education sector playing an important role in developing the necessary human resources. Since 2000 there has been a big push to introduce computers into schools and integrate ICT into the education curriculum through a range of initiatives. Within this paper we draw on the research of EdQual, a DFID funded project in order to examine issues related to the use of ICTs in schools in Rwanda. We argue that the potential of ICT will not be realised by the mere introduction of computers and ICT infrastructure in schools. We show that current policy initiatives appear to be disadvantaging particular groups, such as girls and those living in rural communities. Drawing on Sen’s capability approach as a framework for theorising issues of education policy and social justice, we discuss how engagement with ICT can be reconceptualised as access to the capability of what Jenkins calls participatory culture. We also argue that without a shift in practices of teaching and learning with ICT in schools young people are not likely to learn how to exploit the capabilities offered by access to ICT.

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