|Implementing organisation||VVOB – education for development – Rwanda Education Board (REB)|
|Period of implementation||07/2020 – 06/2022|
|Digital tools||Digital skills|
|Sector||Education – Training|
|Contribution to SDGs|
What is the project aiming to achieve?
The digital age exposes a dire need for more advanced skills, such as problem-solving skills and creativity. According to Vision 2050, Rwanda is eager to enter the digital age. To this end, the 2016 ICT in education policy spearheads the integration of ICT in education. But important challenges remain: inadequate infrastructure, high connectivity costs, low digital literacy, and reluctance among school leaders and teachers to integrate ICT. By consequence, learners do not acquire the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s Rwanda.
To put policy into practice, Rwanda has established an ‘ICT in Education’ Department. At primary level, it has invested in the ‘one laptop per child’ initiative. At secondary level, computer labs are set up (so-called ‘smart classrooms’). Teacher training programmes have been revised to include a module on ICT in education.
By introducing lower-secondary school learners to Scratch – a free coding tool – VVOB – education for development aims to develop their creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills, helping them to thrive in a digital economy. VVOB will train 135 STEM teachers of 45 lower-secondary schools in Kayonza district to initiate and facilitate Scratch coding clubs, providing learners with the opportunity to learn to code interactive stories, animations and games. Trainings will also focus on integrating Scratch in regular STEM lessons. Trainings will be complemented by professional learning communities (ScratchEd Meetups).
Scratch is a free coding tool, which can be used offline. Using Scratch, youngsters learn to create stories, games and animations based on code. It is the perfect tool to develop creative learning, as well as teach coding concepts and computational thinking. Instead of using commands (difficult for beginners), Scratch works by building simple algorithms through a building block format.
In 2013, REB introduced Scratch in Rwanda hosting annual Scratch competitions (Scratch Days) to promote digital literacy and programming, and prepare future engineers. Anecdotal evidence is promising: children participating in the Scratch Days are very enthusiastic and have developed high quality animations, games and stories. REB also integrated Scratch in the upper primary school curriculum of Science and Elementary Technology (SET) and in the lower secondary school curriculum of ICT.
In the framework of Scratc²h 2050, learners’ digital journey will start in the classroom as STEM and ICT teachers integrate Scratch in STEM and ICT courses, triggering their interest. The coding clubs, next, provide the opportunity to truly develop digital skills in an enjoyable environment, combining fun with learning the language of generation Z: the programming language. Once they know the basics of Scratch, the learning curve continues to go up: soon, learners will be able to digitally recreate a board game they played or create stories using their own storyline and characters. Gaining digital fluency, they will become part of a vibrant online community, where they can exchange ideas and materials, chat and continue to design and create their own projects.
Scratc²h 2050 does not aim to train Rwanda’s next generation of programmers – although it will show the potential of a career in ICT, for boys and girls. Rather, the objective is to trigger adolescents’ curiosity and creativity through coding, and build their digital skills.