In his speech, the Minister of Culture and Sport said that â€œ One Laptop Per Child program is key projectÂ with a radical impact to eradicate the lack of a reading culture and writing in Rwandaâ€. Arriving at theÂ library entrance, the first thing you notice is a very nice premise with a larger picture of Rwandan kidsÂ using OLPC laptops. That is the outside view of OLPCâ€™s part of the library, branded by OLPC Association andÂ opened in collaboration with the Ministry of education of Rwanda and Rotary Club Virunga.
The Rwanda Library Services Project was started by Rotary Club of Kigali – Virunga with the aim ofÂ creating the first ever public library in Rwanda. The members in recognition of ignorance as one majorÂ contributor to the horrific genocide against Tutsi in 1994, decided to come up with a project that wouldÂ contribute immensely to the reconstruction of the country.
This is theÂ place where kids willÂ be learningÂ basic computing skillsÂ but also enjoyÂ a constructionistÂ approach toÂ learning. It will alsoÂ offer ScratchÂ and turtle art lessons,Â logo materials,Â robotics for the kids toÂ acquire anÂ analytic approach toÂ problemÂ solving. OLPC seesÂ this as a greatÂ opportunity to shareÂ the OLPCÂ program with the restÂ of the country.
Given the school servers are being installed in schools countrywide, OLPC program inÂ Rwanda will echo the library in all OLPC schools through the eBooks they have acquired.
As this OLPC corner in Kigali library will be open for all user of Sugar learning environment, freeÂ wireless internet connection will give an opportunity for private schools students who are not privilegedÂ by the governmentâ€™s deployment of OLPC laptops countrywide which targets mostly the public schools.
OLPC being a part of the first public library in Rwanda is not surprising because President PaulÂ Kagame has been among the first believers in OLPC technology in education. Since 2009 Government ofÂ Rwanda is fully engaged in getting OLPC technology to each Rwandan child in primary education. BeforeÂ the end of year 2012 they will be closing the deployment of 200 000 Laptops.
By Rwagaju Desire & Intwali Jimmy
OLPC Rwanda learning team