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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Conference on technology in education underway

New technologies for education of the last decade are providing numerous opportunities for African contexts. As a key aspect of economic and social development in the 21st century, technology presents the opportunity to re-think all sectors and aspects of our lives as it pushes us to new ideas and innovation. That is what drove the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) through Rwanda Education Board (REB) to organize a three-day international conference on technology in education (RICTE) with as theme ‘Enhance learning through technology’.
“This conference aims to provide a large number of leading experts, from both the region and overseas, a forum for discussion and exchange of information on research and development related to policy implementation, access and accessibility, curriculum and content, professional development of educators and monitoring and evaluation in the field of education technology,” said Dr John Rutayisire, the Director General of REB.
While opening the conference, the Prime minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, stressed that enhancing education quality and accessibility is one of the key strategies to develop Rwanda from a subsistence farming economy to a middle-income knowledge and skilled-based economy.
“Rwanda is putting a huge effort in the early stages of education, especially in projects that use technology in order to guarantee that new generations of Rwandans are prepared for 21st century challenges,” he said.
He appreciated the conference’s timing, and said, “RICTE comes as Rwanda is celebrating rapid access to technology. But access has to be with good quality that responds to international demands. E-distance learning schools enable us to connect with the best minds, E-books and adopt them to our system.”
He further requested the participants to exchange ideas on how to better improve learning ways through technology.
“Those ideas are what we need. In low-income countries, policies should focus on basic innovation which can contribute towards improvement in welfare, education and agriculture. In all that, technology is the key because it stimulates researches and promotes a better understanding of how things can be done faster. It gives access to ideas from various sources, which may become though provoking towards bettering ourselves and shaping our minds.”
The Conference will focus on research findings and projects, ideas, initiatives, policies, and in the perspective that shared work, dialogue and experience from experienced academics, policymakers and practitioners and those new to this forum and community, will lead to further development and support for technology in education.
“We do not have to rely on a face to face traditional way of education, or our limited number of books, with the growing education demand at all levels, we have to adopt ways that promote faster and easier learning,” said Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister of education.
“To achieve that, we have to spread ICT in learning practices and we encourage innovators along with entrepreneurs to not ignore education technology approaches,” he added.

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