Dziko is in form three at Box 22. He is 14. Akuikosya is 17 and a form four student at St Mary’s Secondary School.
Each owns smartphone / tablet. Akuikosya is a proud owner of an iPad while Dziko is happy with his Tecno Pop4 Pro smartphone.
Both are in boarding facilities. While there, use and possession of gadgets is profusely prohibited. Both educational institutions believe that technology is distraction to “learning”.
Paradoxically, both students are active on social media despite having left their gadgets with their parents for safe-keeping. How? Some unconventional teachers have turned the restriction into a big entrepreneurial enterprise: They let students use their smartphones at a fee.
By withdrawing the right to technology, these institutions are mentoring the young lads into corrupt citizens. Ever wondered why corruption has negatively affected the psyche in this country?
In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame is going against this tornado of education theory, and doing something completely different.
The Kigali government contracted out the American computer assembler, POSITIVO PSG to build laptops tailor-made for school-going children. Kagame envisions a laptop for every child. This is in synch with modern trends; where the physical classroom is fast giving in to a virtual model.
Covid may not be the last; we need to be prepared. Times to cram learners like sardines is past us. The current teacher/ learners ration for public primary schools is 1:75; one human being attending to 75 unfortunate young souls.
Make it virtual; no classrooms will be needed, no transportation required and, above all, one teacher can attend to even 500 students in real time.
The government of Malawi and Germany have a similar programme. Slightly different but the philosophy is the same. The problem with the Malawian version is that it is, perhaps, not as vibrant as the Kagame archetypal.
Meanwhile, why not let students and leaners use their tablets and smartphones at school? The truth is that teachers in this information age no longer have monopoly over information.
For some, the notion that technology is an impediment is almost a solipsism; the only real-thing and anything contrary is showy? Soul-search and ask yourself for which generation are you preparing those innocent lads?
Microsoft thrived on the mantle “a computer on every desk’’ that is kind of cranky for now, enter, “one child, one tablet”. I rest my case my lords and ladies.