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Eastern Province: Education staff arrested over 384 computers missing

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Twelve heads of schools and teachers have been arrested in the Eastern Province following police investigations into alleged theft of 384 computers under One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program. All detainees are from two districts: 8 from Rwamagana, 4 from Gatsibo.

“These ongoing investigations and arrests are, therefore, in that line where 245 computers reported missing in Gatsibo and 139 others in Rwamagana. All those arrested were directly responsible for the distribution and overseeing the process,” he added.

Investigations will be extended to all social programs in all 7 districts of the Province, according to Kayigi.

“Currently, we are investigating the implementation of all social programs, including Vision Umurenge Program, Girinka (one cow per family) and One Laptop per Child. This is in response to reports, which partly indicate misappropriation of some of these social development initiatives, particularly by those in charge,”

“During a survey conducted by Rwanda Education Board (REB), last year, over 1000 one laptop per child computers were not accounted for in the Eastern Province alone. Head-teachers and other staff, who were responsible, were told to explain circumstances under which these devices went missing, and in the process, very few of them were brought back. It’s time that each and every one, who had a hand, are held accountable,” said Eric Kimenyi, the national coordinator of One Laptop per Child program.

The OLPC program is aimed at providing access to technology for Rwandan primary school students and to also promote ICT as a tool in teaching and learning.

Responsibility, management and curriculum, big challenges to OLPC 

OLPC started in Rwanda, the year 2010, more than 200 thousand computers were distributed in around 400 public primary schools(one school in a Sector), in favor of students of P4 to P6.Since then, many head teachers and teachers were arrested over missing computers of about 200 USD each. Some paid back, but kept them in store, far from students.Computer illiterate teachers escape the risk, as Technology is not on primary teaching curriculum.

Furthermore, schools were not equipped: no electricity, no enough rooms, and no accessories. No technician were provided to repair machines under troubles, not even on district level. All should be sent to REB from all 30 districts.Sooner in 2017, REB has been training about 200 technicians, who will help teachers in the matter. The training was held last week at La Palisse Hotel in Kigali.In 2015, most of computers were still packed in boxes, the issue has been reportedly raised in Auditor General’s report, 2014-2015.

“Given that there is no hard data on the effectiveness of OLPC, it is a risky — and costly — experiment for Rwanda, a country with an annual budget of just $1.2 billion; the per-laptop price of $181 is also more than half the average Rwandan’s annual income. Skeptics of the OLPC program ask why Rwanda and other poor countries should spend so much money on the program’s specially designed XO laptops when teachers often earn less than $100 a month”, TIME, June 2010.

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Karegeya Jean Baptiste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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