Rwanda’s IT revolution targets knowledge economy – BBC News

Originally posted: 17 October 2013 By Lerato MbelePresenter, Africa Business Report, Kigali

he One Laptop Per Child initiative has seen thousands of laptops distributed across Rwandan schools

Olive Uwineza is 12 years old and dreams of becoming president one day. She sits in a class of about 30 pupils, at a high-tech primary school in Kigali, Rwanda.

Each student has a green, white and orange laptop that uses cartoon animations to make lessons more fun.

A lover of maths and science, Olive says tackling these subjects without computers “can make my lessons difficult”.

Five years ago, an initiative called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) was introduced to the school, led by the government and NGOs. It has seen 200,000 laptops distributed in more than 400 schools across this tiny east African nation.

Facilities at Olive’s school have been upgraded and modernised, with access to wi-fi, and software tailored for the curriculum.

Healing a nation

The OLPC programme is one of the pillars of Rwanda’s Vision 2020, which aims to turn the country into a knowledge-based economy similar to that of Singapore in South East Asia.

Richard Muragijimana works on a bus equipped with computers, teaching people basic IT skills

In the wood-panelled halls of his official office, we meet President Paul Kagame, who has personally been a driver of this vision. He says information technology will help to turn Rwanda into a regional tech hub that will help Rwandans “find jobs, feed their children and regain their dignity”.

The tragedy of the 1994 genocide is a strong motivation for President Kagame. In his view, better access to information might have helped victims and perpetrators make different political choices.

For him, the IT revolution is not only about modernising the Rwandan economy – at the core, it’s about healing the nation.

Mr Kagame has presided over an era of robust growth in Rwanda. Last year, the economy grew by more than 7%.

Government reforms have encouraged foreign investment and the World Bank has ranked Rwanda the third best country in sub-Saharan Africa in its “Doing Business” index.

Continue reading: Improving access

The XO on a Rwandan Bill

A picture is worth a thousand words….

The XO Laptop is now shown on Rwandan bills.

The National Bank of Rwanda will launch the new 500 Rwanda Francs.  An image of children “learning” with an XO from OLPC is on one of the faces of the bill ( see images attached). Rwanda is really creating a new generation of citizens.

“ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela.




Rwanda’s ‘One Laptop Per Child’ Project Extends To 400 Schools

Original Post by Jeddy Genrwot on July 22, 2013

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has so far covered 407 schools across the country. At least  207,026 laptops have been distributed, according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in Rwanda Education Board.

Bakuramutsa told The New Times yesterday that Rwanda has been ranked third globally after Peru and Uruguay in terms of rolling out laptops in primary schools.

He added that at least all 30 districts have five OLPC-enabled schools.

“The project now focuses on seeing each school in all 416 sectors equipped with laptops.”

The project that was launched in 2008 aims at boosting Rwanda’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based society.

Bakuramutsa said that 2,200 schools have also been equipped with servers, wireless access points and digital content including, e-books, math, science and English courses.

“The server is also equipped with a school management and information system and security features to track laptops in case of theft or loss.”

According to Sergio Romero, OLPC Vice President Africa, Peru tops the list in the world when it comes to OLPC rollout in schools with about 750,000, Uruguay (approximately 475,000) and Rwanda in third position with more than 200,000.

The project has also trained 10,000 teachers with basic ICT skills to enable them to prepare and teach their lessons in digital format.

Bakuramutsa further said that with such a massive deployment, the OLPC programme is looking at establishing a modern call centre that would provide online maintenance support to schools.

Credit: NewTimes


OLPC Workshop in Johannesburg

OLPC South Africa Foundation organized a comprehensive three day OLPC workshop conducted by OLPCA representatives from its office in Kigali on December 10 to 14, 2012.



The main objective of this workshop was to provide a comprehensive introduction to OLPC. The workshop also explained the tremendous milestones achieved to date in providing educational opportunities to children in developing world.

This workshop introduced the XO, its preloaded content and the Sugar learning platform to people from organizations who will be involved in preparation and implementation of large teacher trainings and deployments in South Africa.

The workshop also examined what has been learned in Rwanda during the past four years. The OLPC team from Rwanda shared its experiences, achievements, challenges and perspectives moving forward in its ongoing effort to integrate OLPC technology into the Rwandan education system.



OLPC South Africa Foundation invited some of its friends, associates and colleagues who will be instrumental in furthering the OLPC cause in South Africa. Invitees included individuals from the National Education Department and other thought leaders from various organizations. Approximately 25 to 30 individuals attended the workshop.

Workshop Overview

The first day of the workshop provided a general introduction to OLPC’s background, its mission, and learning philosophy. The team presented OLPC achievements to date. OLPC representatives shared an overview of different OLPC projects worldwide. The OLPC team also discussed the Rwandan experience and the lessons learned over the past four years of the project in Rwanda. The team shared galleries of children’s work from various schools in Rwanda. OLPC representatives examined the impact on learning, classroom dynamics, changes in school attendance, and the overall changes brought by XO into the families and communities in Rwanda. This busy day ended with all attendees exploring preloaded content on XO. Attendees were able to experience the uniqueness of the Sugar learning platform, which allows learners to create, share and collaborate with their peers.

On the second day, the workshop introduced the Sugar learning environment to the representatives of different organizations in attendance. It is anticipated that these organizations will be involved in preparation and implementation of next year’s large teacher trainings and deployments. Participants executed different lesson plans integrating curriculum topics. During this process, participants became familiar with the Sugar user interface and the Write, Record, Scratch, Etoys, Social Calc and Portfolio activities.

OLPC representatives shared different approaches used in Rwanda to support schools on the learning side of the project. For example, the OLPC team in Rwanda has organized XO users clubs, after school and holiday camps, and XO weekly challenges. The team has also worked with teachers to develop lesson plans that integrate use of the XO laptop. The second day concluded with an overview of what is suggested by the OLPC deployment guide and how the project has been implemented in Rwanda.

The third and last day of the workshop was focused on the technical aspects of the XO laptops. Participants were introduced to the XO’s hardware and software, the school servers and troubleshooting tips. The attendees also assembled and dissembled laptops from Kliptown project.



OLPC representatives concluded the workshop with additional support to the OLPC project in Kliptown. The team worked with the Kliptown youth program volunteers and Members of Pendula ICT (a technical support company) to ensure all laptops were in good conditions for use by the Kliptown afterschool program. The OLPC foundation in South Africa is committed to providing South African children with OLPC technology. Many of the lessons learned in Rwanda will be valuable as the South Africa project begins to take shape.