There are almost three years, Rwandan government started the integration of OLPC program in education, now more than 150 schools are saturated with these Learning tools, all students in Primary grade 4to 6). I remember the former minister of state in charge of primary & secondary education in ministry of education, during the first days of OLPC projects in country of thousand hills, on Rwandan TV saying:”We really want to encourage parents to buy these low cost laptops for their children because they are vital implements in their children’s education, if they need to equip their children with the digital skills necessary in this era,” said Mutsindashyaka Theonest.
Now looking back after two year of OLPC program implementation, seems like his voice has been understood partially. Parents bought privately around 1800 laptops in 2009 which is an impressive number compared to previous years. Even though laptops are in hands of their kids ,they are not effectively participating in learning process which is the most important part of OLPC program, because laptop itself is a learning tool rather than just computer to be thrown in kids hands. Participation of parents and other relatives of the school children is vital to the OLPC program. Children learn best by their own discovery, but they need guidance on what to explore and discover, and an opportunity to share the process with others. The children will have much to teach their parents.
What is internationally asked for parents in their agreement with the school?
• I will follow the principles of the OLPC Program • The laptop is for my child’s education • I will look after the laptop • I will make sure the laptop is safely charged • I will introduce rules about sharing the laptop at home • I will make sure the child brings the laptop to school every day.
An exemplary parent’s interest in OLPC project showed by parents from Camp Kigali Primary School. 150 students from Camp Kigali Primary School benefited a one week activity conducted by a group of six CMU Qatar Campus students, where they learnt with how to use some Scratch Activity ( program of XO, helps kid to do simple programming ) and TamTam Activity ( helping kids to compose music).At the end of this CMU-Camp-Kigali PS activity ,parents and relatives have been invited and on Suterday 09 Jully at OLPC-Rwanda Office at Kacyiru , gathered more than 50 parents all from Camp Kigali Primary School, invited to follow the last day of CMU students activities with their kids. Parents showed high interest in knowing the use of XO, asking many questions about how to operate it and take care of it. Questions like: What should I do to keep it clean? How should I assist my kids with new programs? What should I do when it has problem? How XO is helping my kids to understand easily his lessons?..etc. have been asked and answered by both OLPC_Rwnda Learning Development Officers.
During the discussions, parents shared idea, and decided to propose to the Headmaster to prepare a specific OLPC activities at schools for coming holidays, to continuously assist their kids, deeply learnt how to operate laptop. The impressive achievement of kid from CMU-students activities motivated parents, to further provide their kids with greater learning environment, at home, school, or else where kids can use laptop. Parents got committed to starts learn how to use laptops, so they can participate actively in learning process of their kids and in OLPC program in general.