In a country as rapidly developing as Rwanda, the country’s education goals are clear cut and centralised around ICT, science and girls’ education. Rwanda has given the teaching and learning of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) a special place in the education system.
The country has made significant strides in STEM education. In this second part of our series on education, we will turn our attention to what the government has been doing to promote the teaching and learning of science and technology.
According to the ministry of education, STEM helps the development and growth of critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills to support better learning in other areas. They also generate skills that are directly applicable to everyday life. Ultimately, these become the basis of a mindset of innovation.
The government is well on the way to building the necessary infrastructure, providing the equipment and other materials required for the teaching and learning of those subjects, and training teachers in how to deliver lessons that not only enhance learning but also provide a link between classroom learning and the environment.
It is a well known fact that Rwandan schools are never complete without a laboratory. In the last twenty-five years, especially in the last ten, this situation has tremendously improved. In that period, over 380 secondary schools received science equipment. A further 44 will be equipped this year. Where no laboratories exist, science kits have been provided. Over 2000 such kits have been provided in the last ten years.
In order that competency-based curriculum (CBC) provides STEM skills, the Ministry of education has partnered with technology-enabled (Tech-Enabled) companies such as Microsoft, O’Genius Panada, Zora Robotics and Class VR, Keza company among others to use ICT and technology to promote and better develop better of transferable skills — such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity — and improved use of ICT as a tool for learning.
The use technology to enhance STEM teaching & learning through Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, as well as robotic programming, has been launched in secondary schools starting with 150 schools, five in each district with the aim to scale and roll out to all schools nationally.
These are facilitating better delivery of practical experiments. Tech-enabled teaching in schools is enhancing efficiency of student/teacher collaboration and communication within the teaching and learning process, whereby teachers administer quizzes and assessments and get feedback in a quicker way. Microsoft Tech teaching, use of robotics to enable improved engagement of students in hands-on activities are deployed into schools to enforcing students’ abilities in computer programming or to develop students computational thinking to logically solve real-life problems by modelling problems and designing solutions.