Innovate Rwanda: A collision of minds

Published: Thursday 3 May 2012

The school was built in 1934 in the Musanze Province of Rwanda, about 90km from Kigali. Since then nearby volcanic eruptions have damaged the buildings and when it rains, the children and teachers need to relocate lessons to the church hall. The classroom walls are bare and there is little light and ventilation. The children sit on uneven benches facing the front, to a ‘blackboard’, which is on a roughly painted section of the wall.

Would this space inspire and engage learners? See photo 1

We were challenged.

Like many developing nations, a significant proportion of Rwanda’s population is under 20. The national median age is 18 years old and the youth unemployment rate in regional areas is over 75%. In recent years Rwanda has made significant advances in improving students’ attendance at school and the government is now seeking to address the factors concerning the provision of quality education.

What are the strategic directions enabling 21st century learning opportunities for students in regional areas of developing nations? What are the sustainable and economic options for improving infrastructure associated with schools and pedagogy that can become a scalable template for other countries and other contexts?

We were challenged, but we alone, do not have the answers.

Photo 2 – Regional primary school in Rwanda built in 1934 and still in use, despite structural damage to the building

In this connected and collaborative world there are answers. Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL), called visionary educators, designers and entrepreneurs from all over the world for a collision of minds, hosting a summit, using facilitated dialogue from 24-26 May. It will be held in Musanze in northern Rwanda, a vibrant community, an area of immense natural beauty and home of the Gorillas in the Mist.

SCIL is grateful for the support of the Rwandan Director-General for Education, the Director of the Kigali Institute for Education and the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Shyira, representing 55 schools, for welcoming and supporting this idea. The summit will include local school leaders, pre-service teachers and representatives of the government’s education support office.

The summit programme will provide an opportunity for participants to gain insights into the local context through school visits, which will then become a springboard for conversations and ideas.

To find out more, visit our website http://scil.com.au/Rwanda.